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Environmental Science & Technology


A mathematical environmental transport model of roadside applied herbicides at the site scale (∼100 m) was stochastically applied using a Monte-Carlo technique to simulate the concentrations of 33 herbicides in stormwater runoff. Field surveys, laboratory sorption data, and literature data were used to generate probability distribution functions for model input parameters to allow extrapolation of the model to the regional scale. Predicted concentrations were compared to EPA acute toxicity end points for aquatic organisms to determine the frequency of potentially toxic outcomes. Results are presented for three geographical regions in California and two highway geometries. For a given herbicide, frequencies of potential toxicity (FPTs) varied by as much as 36% between region and highway type. Of 33 herbicides modeled, 16 exhibit average FPTs greater than 50% at the maximum herbicide application rate, while 20 exhibit average FPTs less than 50% at the minimum herbicide application rate. Based on these FPTs and current usage statistics, selected herbicides were determined to be more environmentally acceptable than others in terms of acute toxicity and other documented environmental effects. This analysis creates a decision support system that can be used to evaluate the relative water quality impacts of varied herbicide application practices.


Environmental modeling, Pest control, Alkyls, Mathematical methods, Toxicity



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Originally published as "A Stochastic Simulation Procedure for Selecting Herbicides with Minimum Environmental Impact" by Ben D. Giudice, Arash Massoudieh, Xinjiang Huang, and Thomas M. Young in Environmental Science & Technology 2008 42 (2), 354-360 DOI: 10.1021/es070959n.

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