Toxicity Assessment of Pesticide Mixtures Typical of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta Using Chironomus tentans

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This study examined the effects of nine commonly detected pesticides in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta on the aquatic midge Chironomus tentans. Pesticides were chosen from a variety of chemical classes including organophosphate (OP) insecticides as well as triazine, triazinone, and substituted urea herbicides. Both single toxicant and binary mixture bioassays were performed. In addition, midges were pre-exposed to DDE at environmentally relevant concentrations and then challenged by exposing them to chlorpyrifos or diazinon in single-toxicant acute bioassays. Results indicate that most of the binary mixtures elicited additive responses in C. tentans, whereas OP insecticides in combination with various herbicides caused greater-than-additive responses. Pre-exposures with DDE did not have a significant impact on subsequent OP challenges at DDE concentrations of 0.2, 2, and 20 μg/kg. This study represents an important first step in understanding the interactions among various pesticides commonly detected throughout the Delta.