Deposition Patterns and Transport Mechanisms for the Endocrine Disruptor 4-nonylphenol Across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California
Dust and particulate distribution patterns are shifting as global climate change brings about longer drought periods. Particulates act as vehicles for long range transport of organic pollutants, depositing at locations far from their source. Nonylphenol, a biodegradation product of nonylphenol polyethoxylate, is a known endocrine disruptor. Nonylphenol polyethoxylate enters the environment as an inert ingredient in pesticide sprays, potentially traveling great distances from its application site. This is of concern when a highly agricultural region, California's Central Valley, lies adjacent to sensitive areas like the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The distribution and transport mechanisms for 4-nonylphenol were investigated in Eastern Sierra Nevada canyons. Regions close to canyon headwalls showed trace amounts of 4-nonylphenol in surface water, snow, and atmospheric deposition. Exposed areas had yearly average concentrations as high as 9 μg/L. Distribution patterns are consistent with particulate-bound transport. This suggests with increasing drought periods, higher levels of persistent organic pollutants are likely.
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