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Environ Pollut. 2009 Jan;157(1):287-94. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2008.06.037. Epub 2008 Aug 3.

Residential runoff as a source of pyrethroid pesticides to urban creeks.

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  • 1Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, 3060 Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, CA 94720-3140, USA.


Pyrethroid pesticides occur in urban creek sediments at concentrations acutely toxic to sensitive aquatic life. To better understand the source of these residues, runoff from residential neighborhoods around Sacramento, California was monitored over the course of a year. Pyrethroids were present in every sample. Bifenthrin, found at up to 73 ng/L in the water and 1211 ng/g on suspended sediment, was the pyrethroid of greatest toxicological concern, with cypermethrin and cyfluthrin of secondary concern. The bifenthrin could have originated either from use by consumers or professional pest controllers, though the seasonal pattern of discharge from the drain was more consistent with professional use as the dominant source. Stormwater runoff was more important than dry season irrigation runoff in transporting pyrethroids to urban creeks. A single intense storm was capable of discharging as much bifenthrin to an urban creek in 3h as that discharged over 6 months of irrigation runoff.

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