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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 37 No. 3, p. 1024-1033
    Received: Oct 25, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): dalvarez@usgs.gov
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Chemical and Toxicologic Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Surface Water Using Passive Samplers

  1. David A. Alvarez *a,
  2. Walter L. Cranora,
  3. Stephanie D. Perkinsa,
  4. Randal C. Clarka and
  5. Steven B. Smithb
  1. a U.S. Geological Survey Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, MO 65201
    b U.S. Geological Survey, MS 433, National Center, 12201 Sunrise Valley Dr., Reston, VA 20192


Passive sampling methodologies were used to conduct a chemical and toxicologic assessment of organic contaminants in the surface waters of three geographically distinct agricultural watersheds. A selection of current-use agrochemicals and persistent organic pollutants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and organochlorine pesticides, were targeted using the polar organic chemical integrative sampler (POCIS) and the semipermeable membrane device passive samplers. In addition to the chemical analysis, the Microtox assay for acute toxicity and the yeast estrogen screen (YES) were conducted as potential assessment tools in combination with the passive samplers. During the spring of 2004, the passive samplers were deployed for 29 to 65 d at Leary Weber Ditch, IN; Morgan Creek, MD; and DR2 Drain, WA. Chemical analysis of the sampler extracts identified the agrochemicals predominantly used in those areas, including atrazine, simazine, acetochlor, and metolachlor. Other chemicals identified included deethylatrazine and deisopropylatrazine, trifluralin, fluoranthene, pyrene, cis- and trans-nonachlor, and pentachloroanisole. Screening using Microtox resulted in no acutely toxic samples. POCIS samples screened by the YES assay failed to elicit a positive estrogenic response.

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