The term “pesticide” refers to a huge number of heterogeneous products. There are thousands of different formulations, sold under different names with a mixture of active ingredient (chemical) and inert substances (for ease of storage and handling). The pesticides vary in formulation and function. With different potencies, some are good for pest control, while others could have a significant effect on the environment and human health. The major reason for use of the pesticide and herbicides in commercial farming is to maximize profits and reduce losses.
The key concern for the regulatory authorities is to quantify the proper dosage for applications on the crops, as over-application can be hazardous and can be associated with many different diseases in humans like organ damage, cancer, mutations, and endocrine disorders. Similarly, the environmental effect of pesticides is undeniable.
A commonly used industrial and agricultural pesticide Organochlorine (used in DDT, heptachlor, and aldrin) has also shown some negative effects, for example; it degrades slowly and has potential for bioaccumulation. It can also cause-effect in the human fetuses it disrupts the deoxyribonucleic acid and damages brains and nervous system; therefore, many countries have compelled to ban its use. According to World Health Organization, pesticides can be poisonous, hazardous, and toxic for humans. a team of researchers in Nigeria at the Afe Babalola University have studied the effects of Organochlorine residues on common beans collected from the local market and analyzed the health risks associate with those residues.
The researchers used gas chromatography with mass spectrometry to identify the residues of organochlorine. The risk assessment was done by calculating Health Risk Index (HRI) and the risk of non-carcinogenic effects was done by calculating Target Hazard Quotient (TQH). The results of the Hazard Index indicated that the lifelong consumption of the common beans sprayed with organochlorine containing the residue of the pesticide cannot cause any health risks. Furthermore, the toxicological characterization of the precipitates in the beans sample exhibited certain toxic features like the presence of a high mutagenic compound, with negative reproductive effects and irritability, but interestingly those side effects were not drug-like. The calculated parameters like contaminant rates, target quotient index, hazard index, and estimated dietary intake were all lower than the standard making common beans or Phaseolus vulgaris safe for human use.
It gives an adequate insight about the good compliance of local farmers with the directives of the regulatory authorities regarding proper dosage of application on the crops because, in the past, certain countries have witnessed environmental, health, and agricultural problems because of irresponsible application of the pesticide. For the protection of consumer’s health, agricultural experts should vigilantly monitor the dosage application by the farmers.
The study concluded that currently in many different states of Nigeria, common beans farmers are compliant with organochloride pesticide dosage application guidelines and the beans are fit for human consumption with no detrimental effects on health. This study helps with the assessment of critical areas associated with risk assessment and toxicological characterization after pesticide application, especially of organochlorine pesticide.
pesticide, Acceptable Dietary Intake (ADI), Maximum Residue Limit, Estimated Dietary Intake, organochlorine pesticide, common beans, French beans, Phaseolus vulgaris, Acceptable Dietary Limit, Target Hazard Quotient (THQ).