The chemical-fate models with such diverse information as geospatial data can be used to obtain an EEC. Many uncertainties are associated with that estimation, and this section explores some of the most important ones and suggests methods for addressing them.
Pesticides and Mixtures
The first requirement for successful exposure modeling involves identification of the specific substances that are to be introduced into the environmental setting. Those data are needed not only to evaluate exposures to individual components but to assess prospective interactions of the components. To have an informed discussion on pesticide exposure, three types of mixtures need to be distinguished.
Pesticide formulations. Typically, a pesticide manufacturer or supplier mixes one or more active ingredients—the chemicals that are responsible for a pesticide’s biological effects—and other chemicals. The mixture is what is often referred to simply as the pesticide or the pesticide formulation. The committee notes that virtually no chemical is synthesized as a pure compound, so impurities occur in the synthesis of the pesticide active ingredients. Although manufacturing processes try to reduce the number and concentrations of impurities, technical-grade active ingredients that are used to make the pesticide formulations will contain the active ingredients and some impurities.
Tank mixtures. In most pesticide applications, pesticide formulations are added to a tank or other container with adjuvants (see below). The term tank mixture refers to the material in a tank or container at the time that the material is applied to a treatment area, such as an agricultural field. Exposure issues associated with pesticide formulations and tank mixtures share a property that greatly simplifies exposure analysis—the materials are applied at the same time to a defined location. More important, the identity and concentration of the constituents are known.
Environmental mixtures. This term is used to designate all contaminants that are in the environmental media of concern, such as water in the case of salmonids. Environmental mixtures are the results of previous applications of tank mixtures—sometimes many tank mixtures applied at different times to different areas in a watershed or other locale of concern. In addition, environmental mixtures include other environmental contaminants not related to pesticide applications in the media of concern. Because environmental mixtures are the results of many sources of contamination, estimating the components in environmental mixtures quantitatively is far more difficult than estimating exposures associated with the application of a single tank mixture.