A regional assessment of chemicals of concern in surface waters of four Midwestern United States national parks

Science of the Total Environment
By:  and 



Anthropogenic chemicals and their potential for adverse biological effects raise concern for aquatic ecosystem health in protected areas. During 2013–15, surface waters of four Midwestern United States national parks were sampled and analyzed for wastewater indicators, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and pesticides. More chemicals and higher concentrations were detected at the two parks with greater urban influences (Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore) than at the two more remote parks (Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and Isle Royale National Park). Atrazine (10–15 ng/L) and N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (16–120 ng/L) were the only chemicals detected in inland lakes of a remote island national park (Isle Royale National Park). Bisphenol A and organophosphate flame retardants were commonly detected at the other sampled parks. Gabapentin and simazine had the highest observed concentrations (> 1000 ng/L) in three and two samples, respectively. At the two parks with urban influences, metolachlor and simazine concentrations were similar to those reported for other major urban rivers in the United States. Environmental concentrations of detected chemicals were often orders of magnitude less than standards or reference values with three exceptions: (1) hydrochlorothiazide exceeded a human health-based screening value in seven samples, (2) estrone exceeded a predicted critical environmental concentration for fish pharmacological effects in one sample, and (3) simazine was approaching the 4000 ng/L Maximum Contaminant Level in one sample even though this concentration is not expected to reflect peak pesticide use. Although few environmental concentrations were approaching or exceeded standards or reference values, concentrations were often in ranges reported to elicit effects in aquatic biota. Data from this study will assist in establishing a baseline for chemicals of concern in Midwestern national parks and highlight the need to better understand the sources, pathways, and potential adverse effects to aquatic systems in national parks.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A regional assessment of chemicals of concern in surface waters of four Midwestern United States national parks
Series title Science of the Total Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.114
Volume 579
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Minnesota Water Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 1726
Last page 1735
Country United States
State Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin
Other Geospatial Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Isle Royale National Park, Mississippi National River
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