How acute and chronic dietary exposure to pesticide residues is assessed? A case study for fresh fruits and vegetables

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Hazarhun G., Kumral A., Kumral N. A.

7th Food Safety Congress, İstanbul, Turkey, 3 - 04 November 2022, vol.1, pp.27-28

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • Volume: 1
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.27-28
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Hypothesis: Pesticides have been widely used to control plant pests and diseases. Since pesticides may cause adverse effects on human health, regular monitoring of pesticide residues and dietary risk assessment are important tasks for the sustainability of international trade. Recently, European markets are requesting particular specifications such as pesticide residues below Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) as well as limitations for multi-residues and indexes for acute and chronic risk assessments. The goal of this study was to show how acute and chronic dietary exposure to pesticide residues is assessed for the fresh fruits and vegetables.

Methods: The fresh fruit and vegetable samples were randomly collected by official inspectors of Perla Fruit Company for the exportation to European markets. Probable pesticide residues of the samples were determined by using GC-MS/MS and LC-MS/MS. The extraction and cleaning up of the pesticides were conducted by using QuEChERS method. The validation of the multi-residue analysis of each pesticide was evaluated according to SANTE/12682/2019 Guidelines. To evaluate toxicological risks, a Pesticide Residue Intake Model (PRIMo revision 3) which is recommended by EFSA was used to assess the acute (short-term) and the chronic (long-term) exposures using the high concentrations of pesticide residues. The international estimated daily intake (IEDI) and the acute hazard index (aHI) values of each pesticide residue were calculated using acceptable daily intake (ADI) and the acute reference dose (ARfD) of a pesticide, respectively. The following input values are also used in calculation of these indexes: Large portion reported (LP); MRL for each pesticide and crops, conversion factor residue definition enforcement to residue definition risk assessment (CV), processing factor (PF) and mean body weight for the subgroup of the population (BW).  

Results: Among the tested 700 active compounds, residues of 10 (cypermethrin, cyprodinil, deltamethrin, isopyrazam, lambda-cyhalothrin, malathion, spinosad, tau-fluvalinate, tebuconazole and thiacloprid) were detected above their MRLs within the 0.3-1.13% of all samples. Three of these insecticides (tau-fluvalinate, thiacloprid and spinosad) were frequently exceeded the MRLs since their fairly low MRLs such as 400, 500 and 200 µg kg-1, respectively. Among these 10 pesticides, only aHI values of tebuconazole and lambda-cyhalothrin exceeded 100% of ARfD for different mean body weight for the subgroup of the population. Similarly, tebuconazole and lambda-cyhalothrin had the lowest ARfD values as 30 and 5 µg kg-1, respectively. Although no chronic hazard was observed for all pesticides, cumulative long-term exposure to multiple residues of same chemical group such as synthetic pyretroids (cypermethrin, deltamethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, tau fluvalinate) raised the chronic risk.

Discussion: Results showed that the presence of pesticide residues on tested samples could not be considered as a great risk to public health. To increase international trade and decrease health risks of pesticides, following precautions must be taken into consideration during the agricultural production: limiting the use of compounds having lower MRLs, or extending their Pre-harvest interval, avoiding from the multiple use of chemicals within the same group especially too soon to harvest.