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Ranking of agricultural pesticides in the rhine-meuse-scheldt basin based on toxic pressure in marine ecosystems
Henning-de Jong, I.; van Zelm, R.; Huijbregts, M.A.J.; de Zwart, D.; van der Linden, T.M.A.; Wintersen, A.; Posthuma, L.; Van De Meent, D. (2008). Ranking of agricultural pesticides in the rhine-meuse-scheldt basin based on toxic pressure in marine ecosystems. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 27(3): 737-745.
In: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Setac Press: New York. ISSN 0730-7268, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Pesticides; Ecological risk; Risk ranking; Multisubstance affected fraction; Probabilistic

Authors  Top 
  • Henning-de Jong, I.
  • van Zelm, R.
  • Huijbregts, M.A.J.
  • de Zwart, D.
  • van der Linden, T.M.A.
  • Wintersen, A.
  • Posthuma, L.
  • Van De Meent, D.

    Although risk assessments on a per-chemical basis are required during the registration procedure of pesticides, cumulative risks from the use of all pesticides on the variety of crops in a catchment area of a river are not assessed. The present study aimed to rank pesticides used in outdoor agricultural practice within the catchment of the rivers Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt according to their potential toxic impact on the North Sea coastal ecosystem. Toxic pressure calculations (based on steady-state concentrations calculated with a multimedia fate model) and species-sensitivity distribution–based risk estimations were performed for pesticide emissions in the years 1998 (189 pesticides) and 2004 (133 pesticides). A ranking was established according to the relative contribution of single pesticides and crop types to the overall toxic pressure. Calculations were performed probabilistically to deal with parameter uncertainties. Only a few pesticides and crop types dominate overall toxic pressure because of emissions in both years, and the uncertainty appears to be caused largely by uncertainties in interspecies variances of aquatic toxicities. For 1998, these pesticides were fentin-acetate, with a median relative contribution (RCx) to the toxic pressure of multiple chemicals on an ecosystem of 0.43. For 2004, the pesticides that contributed most were pencycuron and paraquat-dichloride, with a median RCx of 4.4 × 10-2 and 3.9 × 10-2, respectively. Pesticides applied to potato cropland and fruit trees contributed most to the overall toxic pressure.

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