Next Article in Journal
Occupational Exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA): A Reality That Still Needs to Be Unveiled
Next Article in Special Issue
Self-Reported Symptoms and Pesticide Use among Farm Workers in Arusha, Northern Tanzania: A Cross Sectional Study
Previous Article in Journal
Metal Levels in Blood of Three Species of Shorebirds during Stopover on Delaware Bay Reflect Levels in Their Food, Horseshoe Crab Eggs
Previous Article in Special Issue
Farmers’ Training on Pesticide Use Is Associated with Elevated Safety Behavior
Article Menu
Issue 3 (September) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Toxics 2017, 5(3), 21;

A Retrospective Analysis of Agricultural Herbicides in Surface Water Reveals Risk Plausibility for Declines in Submerged Aquatic Vegetation

Department of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7617, USA
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services Field Office, Raleigh, NC 27636-3726, USA
Food and Drug Administration, Office of Food Additive Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, MD 20740, USA
North Carolina State University, Department of Biological Sciences, Raleigh, NC 27695-7633, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Christos A. Damalas
Received: 10 August 2017 / Revised: 29 August 2017 / Accepted: 30 August 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Collection Risk Assessment of Pesticide Exposure)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2632 KB, uploaded 9 October 2017]   |  


The Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine System (APES) is the second largest estuarine system within the mainland of the United States and is estimated to have lost about half of its submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) over the past several decades. The issue of herbicide runoff and subsequent toxic effects to SAV is important because of the extensive agricultural production that occurs in the APES region. The aim of this study was to conduct a retrospective analysis of herbicide influx to waters of the APES region during the time period of documented SAV declines and to compare the measured concentrations to SAV toxicity thresholds and changes in agricultural land use. Surface water grab samples were collected at 26 sites in the APES region during May through July 2000. The most consistently measured herbicides were alachlor, atrazine, and metolachlor with geometric mean concentrations ranging from 29 to 2463 ng/L for alachlor, 14 to 7171 ng/L for atrazine, and 17 to 5866 ng/L for metolachlor. Concentrations of alachlor, atrazine, and metolachlor measured in water samples from the APES region in 2000 exceeded several of the established benchmarks, standards, or guidelines for protection of aquatic plants. Although this evaluation was of point-in-time herbicide samples (year 2000) and not analyzed for all possible herbicides used at the time, they were taken during the period of SAV declines, reveal the plausibility of exposure risk to SAV, and suggest that herbicide runoff should be studied along with other variables that influence SAV growth and distribution in future studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: herbicides; pesticides; SAV; estuary; decline herbicides; pesticides; SAV; estuary; decline

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Powell, K.W.; Cope, W.G.; LePrevost, C.E.; Augspurger, T.; McCarthy, A.M.; Shea, D. A Retrospective Analysis of Agricultural Herbicides in Surface Water Reveals Risk Plausibility for Declines in Submerged Aquatic Vegetation. Toxics 2017, 5, 21.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Toxics EISSN 2305-6304 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top