Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Pesticides


Relatively few studies are available on realistic cumulative risk assessments for dietary pesticide exposure. Despite available studies showing low risk, public concern remains. A method to estimate realistic residue levels based on information from spraying journals and supervised residue trials was described in a previous publication. The present article proposes a new method to estimate average residue levels in imported foods based on residue monitoring data and knowledge about agronomic practices. The two methods were used in combination to estimate average pesticide residue levels in 47 commodities on the Danish market. The chronic consumer exposure was estimated in six Danish diets. The Hazard Index (HI) method was used to assess consumer risk. Despite the conservative (cautious) risk assessment approach, low HI values where obtained. The HI was 16% for adults and 44% for children, combining the risk of all pesticides in the diet.

Concepts: Evaluation, Risk, Assessment, Pesticide, Risk assessment, Soil contamination, Pesticide residue, Pesticides


Compared with nutrient levels and habitat degradation, the importance of agricultural pesticides in surface water may have been underestimated due to a lack of comprehensive quantitative analysis. Increasing pesticide contamination results in decreasing regional aquatic biodiversity, i.e., macroinvertebrate family richness is reduced by ∼30% at pesticide concentrations equaling the legally accepted regulatory threshold levels (RTLs). This study provides a comprehensive metaanalysis of 838 peer-reviewed studies (>2,500 sites in 73 countries) that evaluates, for the first time to our knowledge on a global scale, the exposure of surface waters to particularly toxic agricultural insecticides. We tested whether measured insecticide concentrations (MICs; i.e., quantified insecticide concentrations) exceed their RTLs and how risks depend on insecticide development over time and stringency of environmental regulation. Our analysis reveals that MICs occur rarely (i.e., an estimated 97.4% of analyses conducted found no MICs) and there is a complete lack of scientific monitoring data for ∼90% of global cropland. Most importantly, of the 11,300 MICs, 52.4% (5,915 cases; 68.5% of the sites) exceeded the RTL for either surface water (RTLSW) or sediments. Thus, the biological integrity of global water resources is at a substantial risk. RTLSW exceedances depend on the catchment size, sampling regime, and sampling date; are significantly higher for newer-generation insecticides (i.e., pyrethroids); and are high even in countries with stringent environmental regulations. These results suggest the need for worldwide improvements to current pesticide regulations and agricultural pesticide application practices and for intensified research efforts on the presence and effects of pesticides under real-world conditions.

Concepts: Water, Water pollution, Pesticide, Insecticide, Pesticide application, DDT, Pesticides, Surface water


A new method combining QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged and safe) and DLLME (dispersive liquid-liquid microextraction) followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry with selected ion monitoring (SIM) was developed for the simultaneous determination of 19 pesticides from nine chemical groups exhibiting or suspected to exhibit endocrine-disrupting properties in orange samples. Acetonitrile extract obtained from QuEChERS extraction was used for DLLME as dispersive solvent and carbon tetrachloride as extractive solvent to increase the enrichment factor of the extraction procedure. The effect of several extraction parameters, such as volume extract achieved by the QuEChERS method and subsequently used for DLLME, selection of extractive solvent and its volume, was tested. Under optimum conditions, good linearity, satisfactory recoveries and repeatability were obtained. Limits of quantification (LOQs) achieved (ranging from 0.02 to 47 ng/g) were below the maximum residue limits established by the European Union. The proposed method was applied to the monitoring of pesticide residue levels in oranges commercialised in Portugal.

Concepts: European Union, Mass spectrometry, Effectiveness, Portugal, Pesticide, Soil contamination, Pesticide residue, Pesticides


Pesticides and other chemicals at environmental concentrations often have detrimental effects. Many aquatic species are particularly threatened because of their susceptibility and also because water environment are often polluted. This study preliminarily evaluated the toxicity effect of dichlorvos (DDVP) on loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) using the methods of micronucleus (MN) test, hepatase activity and comet assay. The tested results showed that indeed very little DDVP had strong toxicity effect on loach and its 50% lethal concentration (LC(50)) at 24 h, 48 h and 96 h was 8.38 μg l(-1), 7.168 μg l(-1) and 6.411 μg l(-1), respectively; The glutamic-pyruvic transaminase (GPT) and glutamic-oxalacetic transaminase (GOT) activity of loach liver decreased; meanwhile, the GPT and GOT activity of loach serum, the MN rate (‰) and three comet parameters of tested fish increased with the increase in the treatment concentration and treatment time of DDVP, and there was significant difference between control group and each treatment group (p < 0.05). These results suggested that DDVP residues might become toxic chemical contaminant in environment and would threaten aquatic and other organisms.

Concepts: Statistical significance, Concentration, Chemistry, Water pollution, Chemical equilibrium, Toxicology, Pesticides, Cobitidae


Insecticide tolerance and cross-tolerance in nontarget organisms is often overlooked despite its potential to buffer natural systems from anthropogenic influence. The authors exposed wood frog tadpoles from 15 populations to three acetylcholine esterase-inhibiting insecticides and found widespread variation in insecticide tolerance and evidence for cross-tolerance to these insecticides. The present study demonstrates that amphibian populations with tolerance to one pesticide may be tolerant to many other pesticides. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2013 SETAC.

Concepts: Pesticide, Insecticide, Pesticide application, DDT, Amphibian, Frog, Tadpole, Pesticides


Although indoor residual spraying (IRS) is an effective tool for malaria control, its use contributes to high insecticide exposure in sprayed communities and raises concerns about possible unintended health effects.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Malaria, Pesticide, DDT, Deltamethrin, Pesticides


Resistance of malaria vectors to pyrethroid insecticides has been attributed to selection pressure from long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), indoor residual spraying (IRS), and the use of chemicals in agriculture. The use of different classes of insecticides in combination or by rotation has been recommended for resistance management. The aim of this study was to understand the role of IRS with a carbamate insecticide in management of pyrethroid resistance.

Concepts: Malaria, Pesticide, Insecticide, DDT, Pyrethroid, Anopheles gambiae, Pesticides, Carbamate


Malaria control today is threatened by widespread insecticide resistance in vector populations. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of a mixture of unrelated insecticides for indoor residual spraying (IRS) and long-lasting insecticidal nets (LNs) or as a combination of interventions for improved vector control and insecticide resistance management. Studies investigating the efficacy of these different strategies are necessary.

Concepts: Malaria, Pesticide, World Health Organization, Insecticide, Pesticide application, DDT, Pesticides


During the 20 years from 1992 to 2011, pesticides were found at concentrations that exceeded aquatic-life benchmarks in many rivers and streams that drain agricultural, urban, and mixed-land use watersheds. Overall, the proportions of assessed streams with one or more pesticides that exceeded an aquatic-life benchmark were very similar between the two decades for agricultural (69% during 1992-2001 compared to 61% during 2002-2011) and mixed-land-use streams (45% compared to 46%). Urban streams, in contrast, increased from 53% during 1992-2011 to 90% during 2002-2011, largely because of fipronil and dichlorvos. The potential for adverse effects on aquatic life is likely greater than these results indicate because potentially important pesticide compounds were not included in the assessment. Human-health benchmarks were much less frequently exceeded, and during 2002-2011, only one agricultural stream and no urban or mixed-land-use streams exceeded human-health benchmarks for any of the measured pesticides. Widespread trends in pesticide concentrations, some downward and some upward, occurred in response to shifts in use patterns primarily driven by regulatory changes and introductions of new pesticides.

Concepts: Water pollution, River, Pesticide, Stream, Riparian zone, Potential, Pesticides, Stream bed


Susceptibility of principal Anopheles malaria vectors to common insecticides was monitored over a 5-year period across Malawi to inform and guide the national malaria control programme.

Concepts: Malaria, Anopheles, Pesticide, Insecticide, DDT, Pesticides