US Geological Survey
Occurrence of Cyanazine Compounds in Groundwater: Degradates More Prevalent Than the Parent Compound
Date of this Version
A recently developed analytical method using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry was used to investigate the occurrence of cyanazine and its degradates cyanazine acid (CAC), cyanazine amide (CAM), deethylcyanazine (DEC), and deethylcyanazine acid (DCAC) in groundwater. This research represents some of the earliest data on the occurrence of cyanazine degradates in groundwater. Although cyanazine was infrequently detected in the 64 wells across Iowa sampled in 1999, cyanazine degradates were commonly found during this study. The most frequently detected cyanazine compound was DCAC (32.8%) followed by CAC (29.7%), CAM (17.2%), DEC (3.1%), and cyanazine (3.1%). The frequency of detection for cyanazine or one or more of its degradates (CYTOT) was more than 12-fold over that of cyanazine alone (39.1% for CYTOT versus 3.1% for cyanazine). Of the total measured concentration of cyanazine, only 0.2% was derived from its parent compounds with DCAC (74.1%) and CAC (18.4%) comprising 92.5% of this total. Thus, although DCAC and CAC had similar frequencies of detection, DCAC was generally present in higher concentrations. No concentrations of cyanazine compounds for this study exceeded water-quality criteria for the protection of human health. Only cyanazine, however, has such a criteria established. Nevertheless, because these cyanazine degradates are still chlorinated, they may have similar toxicity as their parent compounds similar to what has been found with the chlorinated degradates of atrazine. Thus, the results of this study documented that data on the degradates for cyanazine are critical for understanding its fate and transport in the hydrologic system. Furthermore, the prevalence of the chlorinated degradates of cyanazine found in groundwater suggests that to accurately determine the overall effect on human health and the environment from cyanazine its degradates should also be considered. In addition, because CYTOT was found in 57.6% of the samples collected from alluvial aquifers, about 2-5 times more frequently than the other major aquifer types (glacial drift, bedrock/karst, bedrock/ nonkarst) under investigation, this finding has long-term implications for the occurrence of CYTOT in streams. It is anticipated that low-level concentrations of CYTOT will continue to be detected in streams for years after the use of cyanazine has terminated (scheduled for the year 2000 in the United States), primarily through its movement from groundwater into streams during base-flow conditions.
Published in Environ. Sci. Technol. 2001, 35, 1217-1222.