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Pyrethroids popping up in suburban streambeds


April 1, 2008
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

For the first time, researchers
have detected high concentrations of a popular insecticide in suburban
stream sediments, raising concerns about its effects on aquatic life.

For the first time, researchers have detected high concentrations of a popular insecticide in suburban stream sediments, raising concerns about its effects on aquatic life. Pyrethroids, the active ingredient used in a certain family of insecticides, have been on the market for years. Although the compounds are considered potentially less harmful to humans than other insecticides, surprisingly little information is available about their long-term impact on the environment, according to Donald Weston, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of ecotoxicology at the University of California, Berkeley. Nearly all of the sediment samples Weston and his colleagues gathered from streams bordering a Roseville, Calif., neighborhood (a suburb of Sacramento) contained enough pyrethroids to eradicate a small bottom-dwelling crustacean called Hyalella azteca. The finding, by Weston and others, was published online by the American Chemical Society’s journal, Environmental Science & Technology. A print version of the article appeared in the journal’s Dec. 1 issue.

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