Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 316-321

First online:

Detections of the Neonicotinoid Insecticide Imidacloprid in Surface Waters of Three Agricultural Regions of California, USA, 2010–2011

  • Keith StarnerAffiliated withCalifornia Department of Pesticide Regulation, Environmental Monitoring Branch Email author 
  • , Kean S. GohAffiliated withCalifornia Department of Pesticide Regulation, Environmental Monitoring Branch

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Seventy-five surface water samples were collected from three agricultural regions of California and analyzed for the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid. Samples were collected during California’s relatively dry-weather irrigation seasons in 2010 and 2011. Imidacloprid was detected in 67 samples (89%); concentrations exceeded the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s chronic invertebrate Aquatic Life Benchmark of 1.05 μg/L in 14 samples (19%). Concentrations were also frequently greater than similar toxicity guidelines developed for use in Europe and Canada. The results indicate that imidacloprid commonly moves offsite and contaminates surface waters at concentrations that could harm aquatic organisms following use under irrigated agriculture conditions in California.


Imidacloprid Surface water Pesticide mixtures Agriculture