Standard Article

Soil Chemistry of Pesticides

  1. Philip C. Kearney1,
  2. Daniel R. Shelton2,
  3. William C. Koskinen2

Published Online: 15 APR 2003

DOI: 10.1002/047126363X.agr336

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

How to Cite

Kearney, P. C., Shelton, D. R. and Koskinen, W. C. 2003. Soil Chemistry of Pesticides. Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Maryland

  2. 2

    USDA-Agricultural Research Service

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2003


Pesticide residues in foods have been a matter of public interest since the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962. The detection of trace amounts of organic pesticides in surface and groundwater has been a significant environmental issue since the early 1980s. Public debate about the safety of agricultural chemicals in drinking water has involved nitrates from fertilizers and other sources. The scope of the pesticide issue in water is so large and complex that this article can only address the more important classes of organic pest control chemicals. Soils play a significant role in modifying the amounts and kinds of pesticides ultimately detected in water.


  • pesticide residues;
  • water quality;
  • groundwater;
  • soil chemistry;
  • oxidative reactions;
  • reductive reactions;
  • chemical degradation;
  • pesticide transport mechanisms