Science Inventory

Pesticide presence in Great Lakes tributaries and comparison to ToxCast and other water quality benchmarks to screen for potential biological effects


Corsi, S., L. De Cicco, Dan Villeneuve, B. Blackwell, A. Baldwin, M. Hladick, G. Ankley, M. Lutz, D. Kolpin, AND S. Oliver. Pesticide presence in Great Lakes tributaries and comparison to ToxCast and other water quality benchmarks to screen for potential biological effects. SETAC North America, Minneapolis, MN, November 12 - 16, 2017.


Pesticides are a class of chemicals that are of concern with regard to potential impacts on Great Lakes Ecosystems. As part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Action Plan II, sixteen major Great Lakes tributaries were monitored for 236 pesticides and pesticide degradates. Detected concentrations are being placed into context relative to biological effect benchmarks derived from both traditional whole organism testing and EPA’s ToxCast high throughput screening data. These results contribute to improved understanding of potential threats pesticides pose to Great Lakes ecosystems and contribute to understanding of how different types of data can be used in an integrated manner to set reasonable aquatic life guidelines and benchmarks to aid management decisions. Results of this work have direct relevance to Region 5, Great Lakes National Program Office, the Office of Water and their interest in expedited approaches to ambient water quality criteria derivation, and may also be of interest to the Office of Pesticide Programs in terms of providing additional exposure information to support pesticide risk assessments.


Product Description:Pesticides are a broad category of current use chemicals that pose potential threats to aquatic organisms in and around the Great Lakes basin. In this study, we monitored for over 200 pesticides or their break down products in 16 major tributaries to the Great Lakes over the course of a year. Results will be used to prioritize which pesticides may pose a risk to aquatic life and at what locations in order to help insure the long-term sustainability of Great Lakes Ecosystems and the services they provide. Abstract: Results from evaluation of multiple classes of trace organic chemicals in Great Lakes tributary monitoring during the first four years of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative indicated that pesticides were a chemical class with potential to exert adverse impacts on aquatic life. A follow-on study was done in 2016 with 196 samples analyzed for a 236 different pesticides and pesticide degradation products to define presence, temporal patterns, and potential for adverse biological impacts in 16 major tributaries of the Great Lakes. Pesticide classes included herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides, with a focus both on parents and degradation products. Relevance of pesticide presence to aquatic life is being evaluated by comparison to traditional water quality benchmarks such as USEPA Aquatic Life Criteria and the USGS Health-Based Screening Levels for pesticides, as well as results from “high throughput” in-vitro biological assay results from the US EPA ToxCast program. Collectively, these three sources include available information for 207 of the 236 compounds monitored. Results are being examined to determine which tributaries had the greatest potential for adverse biological effects from pesticides, as well as prioritization of the most influential pesticides in terms of potential toxicity. These analyses are being used as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to focus current and future investigations that will help understand likely adverse outcome pathways in organisms, and to formulate possible remediation strategies. The contents of this abstract neither constitute, nor necessarily reflect, official USEPA policy.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 11/16/2017
Record Last Revised: 12/06/2017
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 338595