Pesticide Residues in Commercial Lettuce, Onion, and Potato Samples From Bolivia—A Threat to Public Health?

Marlene Skovgaard, Susana Renjel, Olaf Chresten Jensen, Jens Hinge Andersen, Guido Condarco, Erik Jors

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Bolivia does not have a surveillance program for pesticide residues in food. The few published studies have suggested that pesticide contamination in food may present a public health problem. Data are lacking for all foods except tomatoes and breast milk. In this study 10 potato, 10 onion, and 10 lettuce samples from La Paz were sampled on August 15, 2015 at a local market and screened for 283 pesticides. Residues of cypermethrin, chlorpyrifos, difenoconazol, or/and λ-cyhalothrin were detected in 50% of the lettuce samples, whereas no pesticides were found in potatoes and onions. In 20% of the lettuce samples, the measurements were above the maximum residue limits, and 2 or 3 pesticides were identified simultaneously. Washing almost halved the pesticide levels, but still 20% of the samples showed measurements above the limits. No samples contained concentrations of pesticides which alone or together would lead to exposures that exceeded the acceptable daily intake or the acute reference dose. To protect consumers from pesticide poisonings and chronic effects, the development of measures for prevention, control, and monitoring of food contamination by pesticides in Bolivia is suggested.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Health Insights
Issue number0
Pages (from-to)1-8
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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