Pesticide residue

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Pesticide residue refers to the pesticides that may remain on or in food after they are applied to food crops.[1] The levels of these residues in foods are often stipulated by regulatory bodies in many countries. Exposure of the general population to these residues most commonly occurs through consumption of treated food sources, or being in close contact to areas treated with pesticides such as farms or lawns around houses.[2]

Many of these chemical residues, especially derivatives of chlorinated pesticides, exhibit bioaccumulation which could build up to harmful levels in the body as well as in the environment.[3] Persistent chemicals can be magnified through the food chain and have been detected in products ranging from meat, poultry, and fish, to vegetable oils, nuts, and various fruits and vegetables.[4]

Definition[edit]

See also: Pesticides

A pesticide is a substance or a mixture of substances used for killing pests: organisms dangerous to cultivated plants or to animals. The term applies to various pesticides such as insecticide, fungicide, herbicide and nematocide.[5] Applications of pesticides to crops and animals may leave residues in or on food when it is sold, and those specified derivatives are considered to be of toxicological significance.[6]

Background[edit]

From post-World War II era, chemical pesticides have become the most important form of pest control. There are two categories of pesticides, first-generation pesticides and second-generation pesticide. The first-generation pesticides, which were used prior to 1940, consisted of compounds such as arsenic, mercury, and lead. These were soon abandoned because they were highly toxic and ineffective. The second-generation pesticides were composed of synthetic organic compounds. The growth in these pesticides accelerated in late 1940s after Paul Müller discovered DDT in 1939. The effects of pesticides such as aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, chlordane, parathion, captan and 2,4-D were also found at this time.[7][8] Those pesticides were widely used due to its effective pest control. However, in 1946, people started to resist to the widespread use of pesticides, especially DDT since it harms non-target plants and animals. People became aware of problems with residues and its potential health risks.[7] In the 1960s, Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring to illustrate a risk of DDT and how it is threatening biodiversity.[9]

Regulations[edit]

Each country adopts their own agricultural policies and Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) and Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI). The level of food additive usage varies by country because forms of agriculture are different in regions according to their geographical or climatical factors.

International[edit]

Some countries use the International Maximum Residue Limits -Codex Alimentarius to define the residue limits; this was established by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) in 1963 to develop international food standards, guidelines codes of practices, and recommendation for food safety. Currently the CODEX has 185 Member Countries and 1 member organization (EU).[10]

The following is the list of maximum residue limits (MRLs) for spices adopted by the commission.[11]

Pesticide Group or Sub-Group of Spices MRL (mg/kg)
Acephate Entire Group 028 0.2
Azinphos-methyl Entire Group 028 0.5
Chlorpyrifos Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
5
1
1
Chlorpyrifos-methyl Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
1
0.3
5
Cypermethrin Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
0.1
0.2
Diazinon Seeds
Fruits
Roots or rhizomes
5
0.1
0.5
Dichlorvos Entire Group 028 0.1
Dicofol Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
0.05
0.1
0.1
Dimethoate Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
5
0.5
0.1
Disulfoton Entire Group 028 0.05
Endosulfan Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
1
5
0.5
Ethion Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
3
5
0.3
Fenitrothion Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
7
1
0.1
Iprodione Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
7
1
0.1
Malathion Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
2
1
0.5
Metalaxyl Seeds 5
Methamidophos Entire Group 028 0.1
Parathion Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
0.1
0.2
0.2
Parathion-methyl Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
5
5
0.3
Permethrin Entire Group 028 0.05
Phenthoate Seeds 7
Phorate Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
0.5
0.1
0.1
Phosalone Seeds
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
2
2
3
Pirimicarb Seeds 5
Pirimiphos-methyl Seeds sub group
Fruits sub group
3
0.5
Quintozene Seeds sub group
Fruits or berries
Roots or rhizomes
0.1
0.02
2
Vinclozolin Entire spice group 0.05

European Union[edit]

In September 2008, the European Union issued new and revised Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for the roughly 1,100 pesticides ever used in the world. The revision was intended to simplify the previous system, under which certain pesticide residues were regulated by the Commission; others were regulated by Member States, and others were not regulated at all.[12]

New Zealand[edit]

Food Standards Australia New Zealand develops the standards for levels of pesticide residues in foods through a consultation process. The New Zealand Food Safety Authority publishes the maximum limits of pesticide residues for foods produced in New Zealand.[13]

United Kingdom[edit]

Monitoring of pesticide residues in the UK began in the 1950s. From 1977 to 2000 the work was carried out by the Working Party on Pesticide Residues (WPPR), until in 2000 the work was taken over by the Pesticide Residue Committee (PRC). The PRC advise the government through the Pesticides Safety Directorate and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).[14]

United States[edit]

In the US, tolerances for the amount of pesticide residue that may remain on food are set by the EPA, and measures are taken to keep pesticide residues below the tolerances. The US EPA has a web page for the allowable tolerances.[15] In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA also routinely check food for the actual levels of pesticide residues.

Japan[edit]

In Japan, pesticide residues are regulated by the Food Safety Act.

Pesticide tolerances are set by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare through the Drug and Food Safety Committee. Unlisted residue amounts are restricted to 0.01ppm.[16]

China[edit]

In China, the Ministry of Health (China) and the Ministry of Agriculture (China) have jointly established mechanisms and working procedures relating to maximum residue limit standards, while updating them continuously, according to the Food safety Law and regulations issued by the State Council.[17][18] From GB25193-2010[19] to GB28260-2011,[20] from Maximum Residue Limits for 12 Pesticides to 85 pesticides, they have improved the standards in response to Chinese national needs.

Health Impacts[edit]

Pesticide exposures can produce two distinct types of adverse health effects – acute (short-term) effects and chronic (long-term) effects. The severity of adverse health effects are determined by following factors: the dose, the route of exposure, an individual’s genetic vulnerability, age at the time of exposure and general health condition; the length of exposure, environmental factors and intakes with other chemicals through other factors.[21]

Chronic Impacts[edit]

Possible symptoms of Long term pesticide exposure are listed as follows.

  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Neurological impairment (e.g. Parkinson's disease)
  • Developmental effects
  • Reproductive effects
  • Organ damage
  • Intrusion with the human hormone system[21]

Many pesticides achieve their intended use of killing pests by disrupting the nervous system. Due to similarities in brain biochemistry among many different organisms, there is much speculation that these chemicals can have a negative impact on humans as well.[22] There are also studies that show positive correlations between exposure to pesticides through occupational hazard, which tends to be significantly higher than that ingested by the general population through food, and the occurrence of certain cancers.[23] Although the most of the general population may not exposed to large portion of pesticides, many of the pesticide residues that are attached tend to be lipophilic and can bio-accumulate in the body.[3] Concerns have been raised about the possible role of continuous low-dosage exposure in causing certain cancers.

On the other hand, pesticide use has proven to be a valuable tool in combating disease vectors that spread illness to millions of children and adults each year. They are used in many developing countries to prevent the spread of malaria, leishmaniasis, dengue, and Japanese encephalitis which are diseases that have an enormous economical burden on society.[4]

Acute Impacts[edit]

Some health effects from pesticide exposure may occur immediately following exposure. Symptoms of immediate body reaction against pesticide are as follows:

  • Eyes: tearing, irritation, conjunctivitis
  • Skin: rash, blistering, burns, sweating, contact dermatitis, jaundice
  • Nervous system: headache, dizziness, mood disturbances, depression, stupor, muscle twitching, lack of coordination, seizures, paralysis, loss of consciousness, coma
  • Respiratory system: throat pain, rhinorrhea, cough, pulmonary edema, difficulty in breathing, respiratory failure
  • Cardiovascular system: cardiac arrhythmias
  • Gastrointestinal tract: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain

Acute poisoning can happen in various situations; by consuming food containing pesticide residue, including the accidental ingestion in the home, garden, farm or forest. Children are the most vulnerable to poisoning as they have not yet built up antibodies to certain toxicities.[21]

Pesticide poisoning[edit]

In August 1994, a serious incident of pesticide poisoning of sweet potato crops occurred in Shandong province, China. Because local farmers were not fully educated in the use of insecticides, they used the highly-toxic pesticide named parathion instead of trichlorphon. It resulted in over 300 cases of poisoning and 3 deaths. Also, there was a case where a large number of students were poisoned and 23 of them were hospitalized because the vegetables they consumed contained pesticide residues.[24]

Child neurodevelopment[edit]

Children are thought to be especially vulnerable to exposure to pesticide residues, especially if exposure occurs at critical windows of development. Infants and children consume higher amounts of food and water relative to their body-weight have higher surface area (i.e. skin surface) relative to their volume, and have a more permeable blood-brain barrier, and engage in behaviors like crawling and putting objects in their mouths, all of which can contribute to increased risks from exposure to pesticide residues through food or environmental routes.[25] Neurotoxins and other chemicals that originate from pesticides pose the biggest threat to the developing human brain and nervous system[citation needed]. Presence of pesticide metabolites in urine samples have been implicated in disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, behavioral and emotional problems, and delays in development[citation needed]. There is a lack of evidence of a direct cause-and-effect relationship between long-term, low-dose exposure to pesticide residues and neurological disease, partly because manufacturers are not always legally required to examine potential long-term threats[citation needed].

Residues on food[edit]

"Dirty dozen" and "clean fifteen"[edit]

According to the Environmental Working Group choosing to buy certain organic food can significantly lower residue exposure by as much as about 90%. The group came up with a list of fruits and vegetable that are recommended to avoid as they are known to contain high levels of pesticide residues. Even though the dirty dozen foods may have more pesticide residue than other produce, their level of residue is still very small compared to doses actually found to have an effect with chronic low-level exposure. A study calculated predicted long term consumer exposure to these pesticides; it was found exposure levels were 1000 times less than the lowest levels shown to have an effect.[26] The scientific evidence shows that there is a very low risk associated with eating these foods despite their dubious label.

These foods, referred to as the "Dirty Dozen" readily absorb pesticides and retain them, so even if washed, they will still have noticeable levels of residues. The ability of a fruit or vegetable to retain or repel pesticides is dependent on its outer shell or protective layer. Fruits such as strawberries are more likely to absorb and retain pesticides than pineapples are.[27][28]

Dirty Dozen
  • apples
  • celery
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • grapes
  • hot peppers
  • nectarines (imported)
  • peaches
  • potatoes
  • spinach
  • strawberries
  • sweet bell peppers
  • plus collard greens and kale
  • plus summer squash and zucchini
Clean Fifteen
  • asparagus
  • avocados
  • cabbage
  • cantaloupe
  • corn
  • eggplant
  • grapefruit
  • kiwi fruit
  • mango
  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • papayas
  • pineapples
  • sweet peas (frozen)
  • sweet potatoes

Minimizing exposure to pesticide residues[edit]

Organic vs Non-organic[edit]

Even though some organic foods contain significantly less amounts of pesticides than non-organically produced products, they still contain certain amounts of residue levels that are persistent in the environment. The methods of organic farming prohibit the use of many pesticides, however certain chemicals could be persistent in the soil, reach the organic produce via pesticide drift from nearby farms, or contaminate produce during transportation to the consumer. In addition to choosing to buy organic produce, there are certain measures that can be taken to minimize exposure to harmful residues: vegetables washes may help remove chemical residues, peeling fruits and vegetables that have known high levels of pesticide residues, and growing your own essential produce.[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ IUPAC, Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book") (1997). Online corrected version:  (2006–) "pesticide residue".
  2. ^ "Pesticide Residue". Environmental Protection Agency. 
  3. ^ a b Walter J Crinnion. (2009). "Chlorinated Pesticides: Threats to Health and Importance of Detection". Environmental Medicine. 14 (4): 347–59. PMID 20030461. 
  4. ^ a b Stephen W.C. Chung, Benedict L.S. Chen. (2011). "Determination of organochlorine pesticide residues in fatty foods: A critical review on the analytical methods and their testing capabilities". Journal of Chromatography A. 1218 (33): 5555–5567. doi:10.1016/j.chroma.2011.06.066. PMID 21742333. 
  5. ^ US Environmental (July 24, 2007), What is a pesticide? epa.gov. Retrieved on October 24, 2012.
  6. ^ IPCS INCHEM (1975),[1] Retrieved on October 24, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Pesticide Usage in the United States: History, Benefits, Risks, and Trends; Bulletin 1121, November 2000, K.S. Delaplane, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubs/PDF/B1121.pdf
  8. ^ A history of pesticide use, Patricia Muir at Oregon State University. Last updated Oct. 22, 2012, http://people.oregonstate.edu/~muirp/pesthist.htm
  9. ^ Lobe, J (Sept 16, 2006), "WHO urges DDT for malaria control Strategies," Inter Press Service, cited from Commondreams.org. Retrieved on September 15, 2007
  10. ^ CODEX International Food Standards (Oct 23, 2012)[2] Retrieved on October 28, 2012
  11. ^ CODEX International Food Standards, Maximum Residue Limits for Spices (Oct 23, 2012)[3] Retrieved on October 28, 2012
  12. ^ European Commission. (2008). Plant Protection - Pesticide Residues. Fact Sheet.
  13. ^ "Food Standards". New Zealand Food Safety Authority. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  14. ^ CRD. "CRD | About PRiF | The Role of the PRiF". Pesticides.gov.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  15. ^ "Protection of Environment". Access.gpo.gov. 2004-07-01. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  16. ^ "The Japanese Positive List System for Agricultural Chemical Residues in Foods" (Press release). The Japan Food Chemical Research Foundation. May 2006. 
  17. ^ "Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture Released MRLS tandards". China Pesticide Information Network. Press Office of the Ministry of Agriculture. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  18. ^ "China released 85 kinds of food pesticide maximum residue limits". World agricultural network Chinese network. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  19. ^ [GB 25193-2010 食品中百菌清等12种农药最大残留限量 http://down.foodmate.net/standard/sort/3/25573.html "Maxium Residue Limits for 12 Pesticides"] (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 29 July 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  20. ^ [GB 28260-2011 食品安全国家标准 食品中阿维菌素等85种农药最大残留限量 http://down.foodmate.net/standard/sort/3/28878.html "Maximum Residue Limits for 85 Pesticides"]. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  21. ^ a b c David Suzuki Foundation, 2007 [4] Retrieved on November.12 2012.
  22. ^ Marina Bjørling-Poulsen, Helle Raun Andersen and Philippe Grandjean. (2008). "Potential developmental neurotoxicity of pesticides used in Europe". Environmental Health. 7:50: 50. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-7-50. PMC 2577708. PMID 18945337. 
  23. ^ ChristosA. Damalas, and IliasG. Eleftherohorinos. (2011). "Pesticide Exposure, Safety Issues, and Risk Assessment Indicators". International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 8 (5): 1402–19. doi:10.3390/ijerph8051402. PMC 3108117. PMID 21655127. 
  24. ^ Environmental Pesticide Pollution and Its Countermeasures in China Xu Hui, Qian Yi, Peng Bu-zhuo, Jiang Xiliu and Hua Xiao-mei Ambio Vol. 32, No. 1 (Feb., 2003), pp. 78-80 Published by: Springer Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4315337
  25. ^ Bernard Weiss, Sherlita Amler and Robert W. Amler. (2004). "Pesticides". Pediatrics. 113(4) (4 Suppl): 1030–6. PMID 15060196. 
  26. ^ Winter, C.K. and J.M. Katz. 2011. Dietary exposure to pesticide residues from commodities alleged to contain the highest contamination levels. Journal of Toxicology. doi: 10.1155/2011/589674. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3135239/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "US: high pesticide level marks `Dirty Dozen' fruits, vegetables". 
  28. ^ "The dirty dozen and clean 15 of produce". 
  29. ^ "What Types of Produce Have the Highest and Lowest Levels of Pesticide Residues?". Organic Consumers Association. 

External links[edit]