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Pesticide Analysis: An Overview of Methods.

This article will examine some of the more common procedures used to analyze pesticides. In broad terms, a pesticide is any agent used to kill or control undesired insects, weeds, rodents, fungi, bacteria, or other organisms. Thus, the term comprises insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides, fungicides, nematicides, disinfectants, fumigants, wood preservatives, and plant growth regulators.

In the U.S. alone, approximately 4.5 billion pounds of chemicals are used as pesticides per year. That figure includes 20,700 pesticide products and about 890 active ingredients registered as pesticides. Agricultural use accounts for more than three-fourths of the volume of pesticides used, with the remainder used for industrial and home or garden applications. Herbicides are the most widely used type of pesticide: The herbicide atrazine is the pesticide most commonly used in U.S. agricultural crop production, and the herbicide 2,4-D is the pesticide most commonly used for home/garden and industrial applications.

Because of their toxicity and widespread usage, pesticides present a risk to human health and the environment. As a result, pesticide analyses are an important part of environmental monitoring and testing. The three sections below describe the most common methods of analysis and provide tables detailing some of the pesticides covered by those methods.

Method 8081A/608--Organochlorine Pesticides

Methods 8081A and 608 determine the concentrations of various organochlorine pesticides in extracts from solid and liquid matrices, using fused-silica, open-tubular, capillary columns with electron capture detectors (ECDs). Table 1 identifies some (but not all) of the pesticides analyzed by this method. Many of the organochlorine pesticides listed in Table 1 have been discontinued in the United States, but most will persist in soil for many years.

Method 8151A--Organochlorine Herbicides

Method 8151A is a capillary gas chromatographic (GC) method for determining the presence of certain chlorinated acid herbicides and related compounds in aqueous, soil, and waste matrices. Table 2 gives some (not all) of the compounds analyzed by this method.

Method 8141--Organophosphate Pesticides

Method 8141 is a capillary gas chromatographic (GC) method that uses nitrogen-phosphorous or flame photometric detectors to determine the presence of certain organophosphate pesticides and related compounds in aqueous, soil, and waste matrices. Table 3 gives some (not all) of the compounds analyzed by this method.

(Source: This material appeared in Precision Analytical Laboratories' Environmental Tech Tip Program, a free program distributed by Precision Analytical Laboratories, Inc. To subscribe, go to [less than][greater than] or send a message to [less than][greater than] with "Add Environmental Tech Tips" in the subject line.)
 Method 8081A/608
Pesticide Properties and Uses
4,4 -DDD Miticide formerly use on vegetables and
 tobacco. Discontinued in U.S. since 1970s.
4,4 -DDE Degradation product of DDT. Insecticide, no
 longer used in U.S.
4,4 -DDT Insecticide extensively used from 1944 until
 severely restricted in 1973 because of
 adverse effects on wildlife.
Aldrin Insecticide introduced in 1959, primarily
 for soil insects including termites.
 Discontinued in U.S. Degrades to dieldrin.
Alpha-BHC Insecticide introduced in 1942, no longer
 used in U.S.
Beta-BHC Insecticide introduced in 1942, no longer
 used in U.S.
Chlordane Insecticide used since 1945 for termite
 control & wood treatment. Technical product
 includes 2 isomers & heptachlor.
Delta-BHC Insecticide introduced in 1942, no longer
 used in U.S.
Dieldrin Insecticide introduced in 1949, formerly
 used on corn and for termite control.
 Restricted in the U.S. after 1974.
Endosulfan I Insecticide introduced in 1956, used on
 citrus, fruits, cotton, vegetables. Exists
 as two isomers, I and II.
Endosulfan II Insecticide introduced in 1956, used on
 citrus, fruits, fiber crops, vegetables.
 Exists as two isomers, I and II.
Endosulfan sulfate Oxidation product of endosulfan. Found in
 the environment as a result of endosulfan
Endrin Insecticide introduced 1951 and discontinued
 1987. Formerly used on cotton, grains.
Endrin aldehyde Oxidation product of endrin.
Gamma-BHC (lindane) Insecticide introduced in 1942, no longer
 used in U.S. More toxic than DDT. Formerly
 used on wheat, corn, & pastures.
Heptachlor Insecticide introduced in 1951, now
 restricted. Used for termite control & wood
Heptachlor epoxide Oxidation product of heptachlor, occurs in
 soil after treatment with heptachlor.
Methoxychlor Insecticide introduced in 1944. Used on
 fruit trees, vegetables, cattle, home
Toxaphene Insecticide and miticide introduced 1948.
 Used on cotton, vegetables, livestock,
 poultry, soybeans, alfalfa, wheat.
 Method 8151A
Herbicide Properties and Uses
2,4,5-T Herbicide used after 1944 in industry,
 range lands, & lawns. U.S. has cancelled
 use since 1985.
2,4,5-TP Herbicide introduced in 1953 for industrial uses,
(Silvex) on pastures & range land, and along floodways &
 canals, U.S. cancelled use in 1985.
2,4-D The herbicide most commonly used for
 nonagricultural applications, eighth
 most common herbicide for agricultural use.
2,4-DB Herbicide introduced in 1957.
Dicamba Selective postemergent herbicide for use on
 corn & wheat, and on landscapes & grains.
Dinoseb An herbicide & insecticide introduced in
 1945, now discontinued in U.S. Used on
 soybean, vegatables, fruits, & citrus.
 Method 8141
Pesticide Properties and Uses
Chlorpyrifos (Dursban & One of the most widely used organophosphates,
Lorsban) found in many home & garden products for
 controlling insects. Residential uses include
 treatment of lawns, ornamentals, & interiors of
 homes & buildings. Also used as a termiticide
 & in pet collars. Widely used on more than
 40 different agricultural crops/sites. Because
 of health risks to children, U.S. EPA recently
 banned chlorpyrifos from use in gardens
 & homes, and curtailed its use in
 agricultural applications.
Demeton (Systox) Systemic insecticide-acaricide, introduced
 in 1954 and discontinued in 1989.
Diazinon Insecticide, acaricide, nematicide used widley
 since 1952 on fruits, vegetables, field crops,
 range, grasslands & household insects.
Disulfoton Systemic insecticide-acaricide introducted
 in 1956.
Ethion Insecticide-acaricide introduced in 1955
 for control of aphids, mites, & leafhoppers
 on crops & ornamentals. Slowly oxidized
 in air.
Malathion Insecticide, algaecide, miticide introduced
 in 1950. Used on fruits, vegatables, &
Methyl parathion Insecticide used on crops. Introduced in
 1949, more rapidly hydrolyzed than parathion.
Parathion Insecticide, miticide, avicide developed
 in 1944. Very toxic to mammals as well as
 insects. Metabolized to p-nitrophenol.
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Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2001
Previous Article:Michael G. Halko.
Next Article:Dear Employee: Please Go, Please Stay.

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