Interpretation of aged sorption studies for pesticides and their use in European Union regulatory leaching assessments.
Agriculture in northern Iraq (Kurdistan) relies on the widespread use of pesticides to promote crop performance. Over-application of many pesticides is commonplace, however, and may compromise soil and water quality, and ultimately human health, within the region. The aim of this study was to investigate the sorption-desorption kinetics and equilibrium partitioning of two selected pesticides in agricultural soils from northern Iraq. This was achieved by fitting a dual-rate sorption-desorption model to time-dependent data obtained from batch experiments. 2,4-D and carbaryl were selected for scrutiny since both are in common use in the region. Six agricultural soils, sampled around the city of Erbil, were investigated. These were low in organic carbon (OC) compared with many agricultural soils from more temperate regions. However, there was still a clear trend of increasing sorption of both 2,4-D and carbaryl with increasing % OC. In the case of both compounds, fast and slow adsorption rate coefficients and 48 h experimental K(d) values were positively correlated with % OC. It was assumed that K(OC) would provide a simple and reliable predictor of K(d). However, while this assumption holds true for short-term (48 h) experimental data, longer-term sorption in some soils (as indicated by theoretical K(d) values estimated from kinetic parameters in our study) appears to be under-predicted by K(OC) alone. The data presented here provide a useful starting point for further site-specific investigations of pesticide impacts in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.