Toxicological evaluation of multi-class pesticide residues in vegetables and associated human health risk study for adults and children
This article describes, for the first time in 10 years, the toxicological evaluation of pesticide residues in highly consumed vegetables (35 commodities) and health risk studies. Among 1075 vegetable samples consisting mainly of tuber, root, fruiting, and Brassica, 20% of samples contained 38 pesticides in the range of 0.005–18.7 mg/kg and 1% > maximum residue limits (MRLs). Organophosphates and chloronitrile were most frequently found (20%) in the pesticide class. The highest concentration of 18.7 mg/kg was noted for dichlofluanid. Fruiting vegetables (8%), especially tomatoes (5%), were the most contaminated, while multi-residues were determined in 5% of the samples. Risk assessment was performed by analytical results and consumption on the 97.5 percentile expressed as hazard index (HI) and hazard quotient (HQ). The highest chronic HI was calculated for diazinon in lettuce (32% Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) adults and 36% children) and for forbidden dieldrin in carrots (26%, 62% ADI). The highest acute HI was estimated for dichlofluanid in lettuce (69% Acute Reference Dose (ARfD)) for adults, whereas for children it was above the acceptance values of ARfD (168%). Organophosphate insecticides with common mode of action showed the greatest HQ (108% ADI). Vegetables may not be a serious problem for consumers, but investigations on pesticide residues are necessary to ensure food safety and the protection of human health, especially toward children who are more highly exposed to pesticides than adults.