Partitioning, bioavailability, and toxicity of the pyrethroid insecticide cypermethrin in sediments



The partitioning, bioavailability, and toxicity of cypermethrin in water–sediment systems was investigated. Cypermethrin adsorbed extensively and rapidly, with an overall mean organic carbon (OC) adsorption partition coefficient (Koc) of 350,000, and approximately 99% adsorption occurred within 24 h. Bioavailability was measured via body burdens of Daphnia magna and Chironomus tentans. Mean biota–sediment accumulation factors (BSAFs), that is, the concentration in the organism as a proportion of the concentration in the sediment, decreased with increasing OC content. The BSAF values were 0.31, 0.14, and 0.08 for D. magna and 0.63, 0.19, and 0.08 for C. tentans, in 1, 3, and 13% OC sediments, respectively. The 10-d median lethal sediment concentrations (LC50s) of cypermethrin were 3.6, 18, and 32 mg/kg for Hyalella azteca and 13, 67, and 62 mg/kg for C. tentans in 1, 3, and 13% OC sediments, respectively. Predictions of aqueous concentrations at the LC50 in sediments (based on Koc) compared well to each other and to effect concentrations from studies in water alone, suggesting that equilibrium partitioning theory could be used reasonably to predict and normalize the toxicity of cypermethrin across sediments of differing OC content.