Prioritizing pesticides of potential concern and identifying potential mixture effects in Great Lakes tributaries using passive samplers

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
By: , and 



To help meet the objectives of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative with regard to increasing knowledge about toxic substances, 223 pesticides and pesticide transformation products were monitored in 15 Great Lakes tributaries using polar organic chemical integrative samplers. A screening-level assessment of their potential for biological effects was conducted by computing toxicity quotients (TQs) for chemicals with available US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Aquatic Life Benchmark values. In addition, exposure activity ratios (EAR) were calculated using information from the USEPA ToxCast database. Between 16 and 81 chemicals were detected per site, with 97 unique compounds detected overall, for which 64 could be assessed using TQs or EARs. Ten chemicals exceeded TQ or EAR levels of concern at two or more sites. Chemicals exceeding thresholds included seven herbicides (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, diuron, metolachlor, acetochlor, atrazine, simazine, and sulfentrazone), a transformation product (deisopropylatrazine), and two insecticides (fipronil and imidacloprid). Watersheds draining agricultural and urban areas had more detections and higher concentrations of pesticides compared with other land uses. Chemical mixtures analysis for ToxCast assays associated with common modes of action defined by gene targets and adverse outcome pathways (AOP) indicated potential activity on biological pathways related to a range of cellular processes, including xenobiotic metabolism, extracellular signaling, endocrine function, and protection against oxidative stress. Use of gene ontology databases and the AOP knowledgebase within the R-package ToxMixtures highlighted the utility of ToxCast data for identifying and evaluating potential biological effects and adverse outcomes of chemicals and mixtures. Results have provided a list of high-priority chemicals for future monitoring and potential biological effects warranting further evaluation in laboratory and field environments. Environ Toxicol Chem 2023;42:340–366. Published 2022. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of SETAC.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Prioritizing pesticides of potential concern and identifying potential mixture effects in Great Lakes tributaries using passive samplers
Series title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI 10.1002/etc.5491
Volume 42
Issue 2
Year Published 2023
Language English
Publisher Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center, Wisconsin Water Science Center, Upper Midwest Water Science Center
Description 27 p.
First page 340
Last page 366
Country United States
Other Geospatial Great Lakes tributaries
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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