A novel method to infer historical DDT use on Cape Cod, Massachusetts (USA), based on ΣDDT degradation and 210Pb dating in lake sediment cores
- 277 Downloads
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane was used on Cape Cod, Massachusetts (USA), for mosquito and gypsy moth mitigation, from 1948 until the insecticide was banned in the 1970s. There are historical accounts of major spray events, and DDT was expected to have remained immobile in the organic-rich sediments of local ponds. We investigated the potential for sediment cores from lakes on Cape Cod to reveal the depositional history of DDT. This compound and its metabolites dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (ΣDDT) were examined in sediment cores from four kettle lakes on Cape Cod that lie between the towns of Brewster and Harwich, where there is a detailed history of aerial spraying. Sediment cores were dated via 210Pb and analyzed for water content, total carbon, total organic carbon, and organochlorine pesticide concentrations. Use of fallout 137Cs to confirm 210Pb dates was unsuccessful, probably because of post-depositional migration of 137Cs. ΣDDT inventories in each lake were determined to be ~ 10 ng cm−2, which represents about 0.1% on an aerial basis of the quantity known to have been sprayed. Compared to the recorded spraying history, the concentration-depth maxima appear decades later than expected. The overall low quantity and unexpected temporal distribution of pesticide residues are probably explained by natural degradation of DDT in the sediment. A novel mathematical correction to DDT concentrations was applied and yielded adjusted inventories close to expected values, and moved the pesticide concentration maxima to the 1950s and 1960s, when they were expected to have occurred.
Keywords137Cs 210Pb DDT Sediment Lake
This research was funded by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (Yale FES) Summer Internship Fund, the Carpenter/Sperry Grant for Summer Research administered by Yale FES, and the Silent Spring Institute. We thank Walter Krol from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station for running samples on the gas chromatograph, Helmut Ernstburger and Jonas Karosas at Yale FES for their guidance in the laboratory, Joel Creswell for his help in sample collection, and Rebecca Barnes and Abbey Steele for their help in sample preparation. We thank Ruthann Rudel and Julia Brody from Silent Spring Institute for their advice on this project. We thank Rebecca Barnes, Brian Leaderer, Christipher Higgins, and Ruthann Rudel for their helpful comments on various versions of this manuscript.
- ATSDR (2002) Toxicological Profile for DDT, DDE and DDD. In: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service (ed). Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, AtlantaGoogle Scholar
- Brody J, Melly S, Rudel R, Maxwell N (2000) GIS exposure assessment for pesticides and drinking water in the Cape Cod Breast Cancer and Environment Study. Epidemiology 11:S102Google Scholar
- Fernandez-Bringas LM, Ponce-Velez G, Calva LG, Salgado-Ugarte IH, Botello AV, Gonzalez GD (2008) Organochlorine pesticides in lacustrine sediments and tilapias of Metztitlan, Hidalgo, Mexico. Rev Biol Trop 56:1381–1390Google Scholar
- Matisoff G, Whiting PJ (2011) Measuring soil erosion rates using natural (7Be, 210Pb) and anthropogenic (137Cs, 239,240Pu) Radionuclides. In: Baskaran M (ed) Handbook of environmental isotope geochemistry. Springer, Berlin, pp 487–519Google Scholar
- Maxwell N, Melly S, Gardner J, Soto C, Spaulding C, Brody J (2000) Enhanced community cancer surveillance using GIS and ecologic analysis: breast cancer on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Epidemiology 11:S110Google Scholar
- Stern GA, Braekevelt E, Helm PA, Bidleman TF, Outridge PM, Lockhart WL, McNeeley R, Rosenberg B, Ikonomou MG, Hamilton P, Tomy GT, Wilkinson P (2005) Modem and historical fluxes of halogenated organic contaminants to a lake in the Canadian arctic, as determined from annually laminated sediment cores. Sci Total Environ 342:223–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Veljanoska-Sarafiloska E, Jordanoski M, Stafilov T, Stefova M (2011a) Study of organochlorine pesticide residues in water, sediment and fish tissue in Lake Ohrid (Macedonia/Albania). Maced J Chem Chem Eng 30:163–179Google Scholar
- Veljanoska-Sarafiloska E, Stafilov T, Jordanoski M (2011b) Distribution of DDT metabolites in the sediment and muscle fish tissue from agriculturally impacted Lake Dojran (Macedonia/Greece). Fresen Environ Bull 20:2027–2035Google Scholar