Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 115, Issue 1, pp 219-243

First online:

Transformations of Pesticides in the Atmosphere: A State of the Art

  • Roger AtkinsonAffiliated withAir Pollution Research Center, University of California
  • , Rob GuicheritAffiliated withTNO Institute of Environmental Sciences, Energy Research and Process Innovation
  • , Ronald A. HitesAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, Indiana University
  • , Wolf-Ulrich PalmAffiliated withFraunhofer-Institut für Toxikologie und Aerosolforschung
  • , James N. SeiberAffiliated withWestern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA
  • , Pim de VoogtAffiliated withAmsterdam Research Institute for Substances in Ecosystems (ARISE) Environmental and Toxicological Chemistry, University of Amsterdam Email author 

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The current knowledge about transformation rates and products of pesticides in the atmosphere is reviewed. Reactive species and their concentrations in the atmosphere are presented. Reactions of pesticides with these species (including photolysis) in the gas and the particulate phase are evaluated from available experimental data. The potential of estimation methods is discussed. Experimental techniques for laboratory and outdoor measurements are reviewed. Finally, an estimation is made of uncertainties in atmospheric lifetimes due to chemical or physical reactions. It is concluded that the most important transformation of pesticides in the atmosphere is due to reaction with OH radicals. Very few experimental data for pesticides are available though. The levels of uncertainty in OH radical concentrations are acceptable, however, for a proper estimation of atmospheric removal rates due to reactions with OH radicals of those pesticides for which experimental transformation rates (of homologues) are available.

atmospheric lifetimes pesticides reaction rates transformation products