The pesticide toxaphene was used extensively on cotton in the southern United States until its use was restricted in 1982. It was previously reported that the upper Great Lakes have received toxaphene by gas absorption following long-range transport from the south and are currently saturated with respect to toxaphene. However, the rate of loss of toxaphene from Lakes Michigan and Superior had been estimated using sparse or estimated data, and thus, these estimates had high uncertainties. For this investigation, samples were collected to provide extensive data on air, water, and sediment concentrations of toxaphene for the upper Great Lakes for the period 1997-98. These data were used to calculate the annual and seasonal fluxes of toxaphene from water to air and sediment. Lake Superior is 200-1000% saturated with toxaphene, and Lake Michigan is 200-500% saturated. It seems clear that both lakes will outgas toxaphene into the atmosphere for some considerable time in the future, and Lake Superior, because of its generally lower water temperatures and higher toxaphene concentration, will outgas toxaphene even longer than will Lake Michigan.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry