Dissipation, Fate, and Toxicity of Crop Protection Chemical Safeners in Aquatic Environments


Safeners are a group of chemicals applied with herbicides to protect crop plants from potential adverse effects of agricultural products used to kill weeds in monocotyledonous crops. Various routes of dissipation of safeners from their point of applications were evaluated. Despite the large numbers of safeners (over 18) commercially available and the relatively large quantities (~2 × 106 kg/year) used, there is little information on their mobility and fate in the environment and occurrence in various environmental matrices. The only class of safeners for which a significant amount of information is available is dichloroacetamide safeners, which have been observed in some rivers in the USA at concentrations ranging from 42 to 190 ng/L. Given this gap in the literature, there is a clear need to determine the occurrence, fate, and bioavailability of other classes of safeners. Furthermore, since safeners are typically used in commercial formulations, it is useful to study them in relation to their corresponding herbicides. Common routes of dissipation for herbicides and applied safeners are surface run off (erosion), hydrolysis, photolysis, sorption, leaching, volatilization, and microbial degradation. Toxic potencies of safeners vary among organisms and safener compounds, ranging from as low as the LC50 for fish (Oncorhynchus mykiss) for isoxadifen-ethyl, which was 0.34 mg/L, to as high as the LC50 for Daphnia magna from dichlormid, which was 161 mg/L. Solubilities and octanol-water partition coefficients seem to be the principal driving force in understanding safener mobilities. This paper provides an up-to-date literature review regarding the occurrence, behaviour, and toxic potency of herbicide safeners and identifies important knowledge gaps in our understanding of these compounds and the potential risks posed to potentially impacted ecosystems.

Authors: Femi F Oloye, Oluwabunmi P Femi-Oloye, Jonathan K Challis, Paul D Jones, John P Giesy
; Full Source: Reviews of environmental contamination and toxicology 2021 Sep 17. doi: 10.1007/398_2021_70.