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Pesticide and industrial chemical residues at the mouth of the grand, Saugeen and Thames rivers, Ontario, Canada, 1981–85

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Water samples collected at the river mouth of the Grand, Saugeen and Thames rivers between January 1981 and December 1985 were analyzed for 20 herbicides, 25 insecticides and 3 fungicides that had been used in the basins. Thirteen herbicides were identified in river water; these ranged from single events in one basin over the five years to those appearing in most water samples from all three basins. Atrazine was the most frequently found pesticide present at measurable levels in 375 of 440 samples (85%). The second most frequently found pesticide was 2,4-D which was identified in 78 of 447 water samples (17%). No fungicides were detected in river water and only single events of two organophosphorus insecticides occurred in 446 samples analyzed (diazinon and malathion). Organochlorine insecticides were identified from both present and past use patterns. Heptachlor expoxide appeared as a breakdown product from the use of chlordane. The order by pesticide group in decreasing loadings at the river mouth were triazine herbicides < chloroacetanilide herbicides < chlorophenoxy and chlorobenzoic acid herbicides < organochlorine insecticides. The highest loadings at the river mouth were for atrazine, which ranged from 0.1 to 8.2 metric tonnes per basin representing between 0.2 and 2.1% of that applied in the basin. Loadings of alachlor, metolachlor, and cyanazine represented up to 0.5 metric tonnes at the Thames river mouth, but negligible amounts for the other basins. Loading of chlorophenoxy herbicides and insecticides were infinitely lower than the triazines and chloroacetanilide herbicides. Some organochlorines of industrial origin were sought however, other than in 1981 when polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs) were present at measurable level; none were detected between 1982 and 1985.

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Frank, R., Logan, L. Pesticide and industrial chemical residues at the mouth of the grand, Saugeen and Thames rivers, Ontario, Canada, 1981–85. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 17, 741–754 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01061980

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  • PCBs
  • Atrazine
  • River Mouth
  • Triazine
  • Malathion