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Characterizing pesticide dissipation in food crops

  • Fantke, Peter
  • Juraske, R.
  • Jolliet, O.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2013
Online Research Database In Technology
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Ingestion of residues via consumption of food crops is the predominant exposure route of the general population toward pesticides. However, pesticide dissipation in crops constitutes a main source of uncertainty in estimating residues in harvested crop parts and subsequent human exposure. Nevertheless, dissipation is a key mechanism in models assessing pesticide distribution in the cropenvironment and the magnitude of residues in harvest. We provide a consistent framework for characterizing pesticide dissipation in food crops for use in modeling approaches applied in health risk and impact assessment. We collected 4,482 unique dissipation half-lives for 341 substances applied to 182 different crop species and fully characterize these data by describing their variance, distribution and uncertainty as well as by identifying the influence of substance, crop and environmental characteristics. We obtain an overall geo-mean half-life over all data points of 3.9 days with 95% of all half-lives falling within the range between 0.6 and 29 days. Uncertainty in predicting a substance-specific geo-mean half-life varies with varying numbers of available data points with the highest uncertainty associated to pesticides with less than seven reported half-lives. Temperature in air was identified to have a significant influence on dissipation kinetics. We, hence, provide estimated half-lives for a default temperature of 20°C, while introducing a correction term for deviating temperature conditions. Diffusive exchange processes also have a significant influence on pesticide dissipation, wherever these processes dominate dissipation rates compared to degradation. In these cases, we recommend not to use measured dissipation half-lives as basis for estimating degradation, which is recommended in cases, where degradation is dominating. We are currently testing the regression to predict degradation half-lives in crops. By providing mean degradation half-lives at 20°C for more than 300 pesticides, we reduce uncertainty and improve assumptions in current practice of health risk and impact assessments.

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