Home > Explore Data & Reports > Distribution and potential bioeffects of atrazine in coastal waters


DeLorenzo, M.E., P.L. Pennington, M.H. Fulton, and G.I. Scott. 2006. Distribution and potential bioeffects of atrazine in coastal waters. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 51. Charleston, SC. 41 pp.

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NOAA Technical Memorandum

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Estuaries provide critical nursery habitat for many commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish species. These productive, diverse ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to pollution because they serve as repositories for non–point-source contaminants from upland sources, such as pesticide runoff. Atrazine, among the most widely used pesticides in the United States, has also been one of the most extensively studied. There has not, however, been a specific assessment of atrazine in marine and estuarine ecosystems. This document characterizes the presence and transformation of atrazine in coastal waters, and the effects of atrazine on marine organisms. Review of marine and estuarine monitoring data indicate that atrazine is chronically present in U.S. coastal waters at relatively low concentrations. The concentrations detected have typically been below acute biological effects levels, and below the U.S. EPA proposed water quality criteria for atrazine. While direct risk of atrazine impacts are low, uncertainty remains regarding the effects of long-term low levels of atrazine in mixture with other contaminants. It is recommended that best management practices, such as the use of vegetative buffers and public education about pesticide use, be encouraged in the coastal zone to minimize runoff of atrazine into marine and estuarine waters.

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