John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Monitoring the aquatic toxicity of mosquito vector control spray pesticides to freshwater receiving waters

Pesticides are applied to state and local waterways in California to control insects such as mosquitoes, which are known to serve as a vector for West Nile Virus infection of humans. The California State Water Resources Control Board adopted a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit to address the discharge of pesticides to waters of the United States resulting from adult and larval mosquito control. Because pesticides used in spray activities have the potential to cause toxicity to non‐target organisms in receiving waters, the current study was designed to determine if toxicity testing provides additional useful environmental risk information beyond chemical analysis in monitoring spray pesticide applications. Monitoring included a combination of aquatic toxicity tests and chemical analyses of receiving waters from agricultural, urban and wetland habitats. The active ingredients monitored included the organophosphate pesticides malathion and naled, the pyrethroid pesticides etofenprox, permethrin and sumithrin, pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide (PBO). Approximately 15% of the post‐application water samples were significantly toxic. Toxicity of half of these samples was attributed to the naled breakdown product, dichlorvos. Toxicity of two other water samples likely occurred when PBO synergized the effect of pyrethroid pesticides that were likely present in the receiving system. Four of 43 post‐application sediment samples were significantly more toxic than their corresponding pre‐application samples, but none of the observed toxicity was attributed to the application events. These results indicate that many of the spray pesticides used for adult mosquito control do not pose significant acute toxicity risk to invertebrates in receiving systems. In the case of naled in water, analysis of only the active ingredient underestimated potential impacts to the receiving system because toxicity was attributed to the breakdown product, dichlorvos. Toxicity testing can provide useful risk information about unidentified, unmeasured toxicants, or mixtures of toxicants. In this case, toxicity testing provided information that could lead to the inclusion of dichlorvos monitoring as a permit requirement. Integr Environ Assess Manag © 2014 SETAC

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