Estrogenic and esterase-inhibiting potency in rainwater in relation to pesticide concentrations, sampling season and location

T.H.M. Hamers, P.J. van den Brink, L. Mos, S.C. van der Linden, J. Legler, J.H. Koeman, A.J. Murk

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Abstract

In a year-round monitoring program (1998), pesticide composition and toxic potency of the mix of pollutants present in rainwater were measured. The goal of the study was to relate atmospheric deposition of toxic potency and pesticide composition to each other and to sampling period and local agricultural activity. Rainwater was collected in 26 consecutive periods of 14 days in a background location (BACK) and in two locations representative for different agricultural practices, i.e. intensive greenhouse horticulture (HORT) and flower bulb culture (BULB). Samples were chemically analyzed for carbamate (CARB), organophosphate (OP) and organochlorine (OC) pesticides and metabolites. Esterase inhibiting potency of rainwater extracts was measured in a specially developed bio-assay with honeybee esterases and was expressed as an equivalent concentration of the model inhibitor dichlorvos. Estrogenic potency of the extracts was measured in the ER-CALUX reporter gene assay and was expressed as an equivalent concentration of estradiol. Multivariate principal component analysis (PCA) techniques proved to be valuable tools to analyze the numerous pesticide concentrations in relation to toxic potency, sampling location, and sampling season. Pesticide composition in rainwater depended much more on sampling season than on sampling location, but differences between SPRING and SUMMER were mainly attributed to local differences in agricultural practice. On average, the esterase inhibiting potency exceeded the maximum permissible concentration set for dichlorvos in The Netherlands, and was significantly higher in HORT than in BACK and BULB. Esterase inhibition correlated significantly with OP and GARB concentrations, as expected given the working mechanism of these insecticides. The estrogenic potency incidentally exceeded NOEC levels reported for aquatic organisms and was highest in SPRING. Although estrogenic potency of rainwater correlated with OC concentrations, the ER-CALUX responses could not be attributed to any particular pesticides. Besides, the contribution of non-analyzed xeno-estrogens as alkylphenol(-ethoxylates) and bisphenol-A to the estrogenic potency of rainwater could not be excluded. Further research should focus on the chemical identification of estrogenic compounds in rainwater. In addition, more attention should be given to the ecological consequences of atmospheric deposition of individual pesticides and of total toxic potencies that regularly exceed environmental criteria for Dutch surface waters and/or toxic threshold values for aquatic organisms. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-65
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume123
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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Keywords

  • reporter gene assays
  • organochlorine pesticides
  • pyrethroid insecticides
  • atmospheric transport
  • cell-line
  • in-vivo
  • receptor
  • trout
  • organophosphate
  • xenobiotics

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