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Examining impacts of current‐use pesticides in Southern Ontario using in situ exposures of the amphipod Hyalella azteca

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In situ exposures with Hyalella azteca were used to assess impacts of current‐use pesticides in Southern Ontario, Canada. Exposures were conducted over 2 growing seasons within areas of high pesticide use: 1 site on Prudhomme Creek, and 3 sites on Twenty Mile Creek. Three sites on Spencer Creek, an area of low pesticide use, were added in the second season. Surface water samples were collected every 2‐3 wk and analyzed for a suite of pesticides. Hyalella were exposed in situ for 1 wk every 4‐6 wk, and survival and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity were measured. Pesticides in surface waters reflected seasonal use patterns: lower concentrations in spring and fall, and higher concentrations during summer months. Organophosphate insecticides (chlorpyrifos, azinphos methyl, diazinon) and acid herbicides (2,4‐D, mecoprop) were routinely detected in Prudhomme Creek, whereas neutral herbicides (atrazine, metolachlor) dominated the pesticide signature of Twenty Mile Creek. Spencer Creek contained fewer pesticides which were measured at lower concentrations. In situ effects also followed seasonal patterns: higher survival and AChE activity in spring and fall, and lower survival and AChE activity during summer months. The highest toxicity was observed at Prudhomme Creek, and was primarily associated with organophosphates. The present study demonstrated that current‐use pesticides in Southern Ontario were linked to in situ effects, and identified sites of concern requiring further investigation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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