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A Preliminary Assessment of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds in Vernal Ponds in Central Pennsylvania

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  141910944,  2014 Montreal, Quebec Canada July 13 – July 16, 2014. (doi: 10.13031/aim.20141910944) @2014
Authors:   Odette Mina, Heather E Gall, Bradley E Carlson, Tracy Langkilde
Keywords:   Vernal ponds, hormones, emerging contaminants, nutrients, water quality.

Abstract. Humans use a large variety of chemicals in their everyday lives, including many of which are known or suspected endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs). These chemicals are in pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and agrochemicals, such as pesticides. The land-application of human and animal wastes and pesticides to agricultural fields introduces EDCs into the environment, which then become mobilized during rainfall events and may impact nearby receiving water bodies. These EDCs have the potential to cause endocrine disruption in amphibians that develop in impacted vernal ponds. In October 2013, we collected baseline water samples from seven vernal ponds in Centre County, Pennsylvania. Two of the vernal ponds were in natural forested landscapes, three were impacted by wastewater effluent irrigation, one was in a catchment receiving dairy manure applications, and one was near agricultural areas with unknown application practices. Water samples were analyzed for nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon), hormones (natural and synthetic), semi-volatile organic compounds, including pesticides, and pH. Our preliminary data showed a wide range of Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen concentrations (1.3 – 132 mg-N/L) across the seven ponds, total phosphorus values from 0.4 – 5.1 mg-P/L, and pH values between 5.5 and 6.8. One of the ponds affected by wastewater effluent irrigation had detectable levels of 17β-estradiol and estrone. These preliminary results suggest that further research is needed to better understand how anthropogenic activities impact the presence of EDCs in vernal ponds and how their presence may impact developing amphibians.

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