Soil Science Society of America

Acrylamide monomer leaching from Polyacrylamide-treated irrigation furrows

Water-soluble anionic polyacrylamide (WSPAM), which is used to reduce erosion in furrow irrigated fields and other agriculture applications, contains less than 0.05% acrylamide monomer (AMD). Acrylamide monomer, a potent neurotoxicant and suspected carcinogen, is readily dissolved and transported in flowing water. The study quantified AMD leaching losses from a WSPAM-treated corn (Zea mays L.) field using continuous extraction-walled percolation samplers buried at 1.2 m depth. The samplers were placed 30 and 150 m from the inflow source along a 180-m-long corn field. The field was furrow irrigated using WSPAM at the rate of 10 mg L–1 during furrow advance. Percolation water and furrow inflows were monitored for AMD during and after three furrow irrigations. The samples were analyzed for AMD using a gas chromatograph equipped with an electron-capture detector. Furrow inflows contained an average AMD concentration of 5.5 µg L–1. The AMD in percolation water samples never exceeded the minimum detection limit and the de facto potable water standard of 0.5 µg L–1. The risk that ground water beneath these WSPAM-treated furrow irrigated soils will be contaminated with AMD appears minimal.

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