It has already been well established that long exposure to low doses of pesticides is linked to consumer risks. So, this study purposed to investigate the amounts of pesticide residues and potential health risks associated with them. The risk assessment was determined by two methods: 1. Pesticide toxicity index (PTI) depending on the maximum residue limit (MRL) to calculate the hazard quotient (HQ); 2. Health risk assessment (HR) using acceptable daily intake (ADI) and estimated daily intake (EDI) to calculate the health index (HI). Pesticide residues were estimated in 176 samples of the most popularly consumed vegetables collected from major retailers and markets in Dakahlia, Egypt (during 2018). There were 111 samples contaminated with pesticide residues (63.1%), of which 29 samples (16.48%) were higher than the maximum residue limits (MRL). Residues of 23 compounds were found in the analyzed samples, of which chlorpyrifos was the most frequent in 33 samples (18.75%); while cypermethrin was the lowest (detected in one sample). According to WHO toxicity classification, 12 of the detected pesticides were moderately hazardous (class II), seven pesticides belonged to class III (slightly hazardous), three compounds were found in class U (unlikely to pose an acute hazard with normal use), while carbofuran is a highly toxic compound (class Ib). Also, the obtained data revealed that, the HI’s for the individual pesticides ranged from 0.0018 to 64.0% of ADI indicates no risk of adverse effects following exposure to the individual pesticides. The cumulative exposure amounts (PTI values) ranged from 1.58 in snake cucumber to 128.44 in potato tubers, indicating that, the combined risk index of pesticide residues was a significant health risk for consumers according to the individual risk index. It can be concluded that there is a need for strict regulation and regular monitoring of pesticide residues in foodstuff for consumers’ health protection.
The authors are thankful to the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, Egypt, for funding this project. Also, the authors thank the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on this manuscript.
This research was a part of the project titled “Prevention Practices for Occupational Workers from Adverse Effects of Pesticides and the Safe Disposal of Expired Compounds” funded by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, Egypt during 2016–2018.
Piotr Kaczyński
The authors have declared that no conflict of interests exist.
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