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Kansas Water Science Center

Contribution of Hydroxylated Atrazine Degradation Products to the Total Atrazine Load in Midwestern Streams

By R.N. Lerch, P.E. Blanchard, and E.M. Thurman

Abstract

The contribution of hydroxylated atrazine degradation products (HADPs) to the total atrazine load (i.e., atrazine plus stable metabolites) in streams needs to be determined in order to fully assess the impact of atrazine contamination on stream ecosystems and human health. The objectives of this study were (1) to determine the contribution of HADPs to the total atrazine load in streams of nine midwestern states and (2) to discuss the mechanisms controlling the concentrations of HADPs in streams. Stream samples were collected from 95 streams in northern Missouri at preplant and postplant of 1994 and 1995, and an additional 46 streams were sampled in eight midwestern states at postplant of 1995. Samples were analyzed for atrazine, deethylatrazine (DEA), deisopropylatrazine (DIA), and three HADPs. Overall, HADP prevalence (i.e., frequency of detection) ranged from 87 to 100% for hydroxyatrazine (HA), 0 to 58% for deethylhydroxyatrazine (DEHA), and 0% for deisopropylhydroxyatrazine (DIHA) with method detection limits of 0.04-0.10 g L-1. Atrazine metabolites accounted for nearly 60% of the atrazine load in northern Missouri streams at preplant, with HA the predominant metabolite present. Data presented in this study and a continuous monitoring study are used to support the hypothesis that a combination of desorption from stream sediments and dissolved-phase transport control HADP concentrations in streams.

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Lerch, R.N., Blanchard, P.E., and Thurman, E.M., 1998, Contribution of Hydroxylated Atrazine Degradation Products to the Total Atrazine Load in Midwestern Streams [abst.]: Environmental Science & Technology, v 32, p. 40-48.

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