Identifying unusual human exposures to pesticides: Qilu Lake Basin as an overlooked source


Although common exposure pathways of pesticides (e.g., crop consumption) have been intensively studied, we noticed that some unusual occupational exposures to pesticides were overlooked and could lead to unacceptable health risks. In this study, we presented information on the occurrence of 5 triazine pesticides (TRIs) and 3 neonicotine pesticides (NEOs) detected in water samples of Qilu Lake Basin in China. We identified the unusual occupational exposure scenarios as (i) adult females washing the harvested vegetables, and (ii) adult males catching fish in Qilu Lake; next, the health risk assessment was conducted using collected data. The results showed that the mean Σ5 TRI concentrations ranged from 505.87 ng/L in spring to 864.04 ng/L in summer, and the river water samples around Qilu Lake had the highest concentrations. The mean concentrations of Σ3 NEOs ranged from 885.86 ng/L in winter to 2593.04 ng/L in summer. Occupational exposed populations were bearing one to two orders of magnitude higher exposure doses than local adults. Although the carcinogenic risks caused by atrazine in water were at acceptable levels for local residents, all the occupational exposed males were at moderate risks, and 15.78 %-43.50 % of occupational exposed females in different seasons were even at high risks. The non-carcinogenic risks caused by pesticides in water were all at negligible levels, but the occupational exposed population were facing up to two orders of magnitude higher risks than local residents. This study established a sound basis for further decision-making to take necessary action on protection of sensitive population groups.

Authors: Chong Chen, Jiahong Luo, Chengcheng Bu, Weiwei Zhang, Limin Ma
; Full Source: The Science of the total environment 2023 Feb 1;858(Pt 1):159864. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.159864.