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Mitigating Ecotoxicity Risks of Pesticides on Ornamental Plants Based on Life Cycle Assessment

  • yin;, yi xinhan
Publication Date
Apr 10, 2023
DOI: 10.3390/toxics11040360
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Ornamental plants such as floriculture and nurseries, have become increasingly popular, but their growth relies heavily on the use of many different types of pesticides. The widespread and inefficient use of these pesticides causes environmental pollution and damage to non-target organisms. Despite these impacts, there has been little research conducted on potential agrochemical pollution in the ornamental plant industry. To address this gap, a life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted to evaluate the pesticide-related freshwater ecotoxicity impact of the US ornamental plant industry in comparison to that of major field crops. The study analyzed 195 pesticide active ingredients used in 15 major ornamental plant and four field crops. Results showed that the freshwater ecotoxicity per area (PAF m3 d/ha) of ornamental plants was significantly higher than that of field crops due to the high pesticide intensity (kg/ha) and ecotoxicity of insecticides and fungicides used in floriculture and nurseries. To mitigate environmental stress, minimizing the use of highly toxic pesticides is recommended. A ban on low-dose, high-toxicity pesticides could reduce pesticide-driven ecotoxicity by 34% and 49% for floriculture and nursery plants, respectively. This study is among the first to quantify the pesticide-driven ecotoxicity impacts of horticultural ornamental plants and proposes feasible ways to reduce these impacts, thus making the world more sustainable while still preserving its beauty.

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