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How does exposure to pesticides vary in space and time for residents living near to treated orchards?

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JournalEnvironmental science and pollution research
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Sep 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sep 2017
DatePublished (current) - 25 Sep 2017
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)26444-26461
Early online date25/09/17
Original languageEnglish


This study investigated changes over 25 years (1987-2012) in pesticide usage in orchards in England and Wales and associated changes to exposure and risk for resident pregnant women living 100 and 1000 m downwind of treated areas. A model was developed to estimate aggregated daily exposure to pesticides via inhaled vapour and indirect dermal contact with contaminated ground, whilst risk was expressed as a hazard quotient (HQ) for reproductive and/or developmental endpoints. Results show the largest changes occurred between 1987 and 1996 with total pesticide usage reduced by ca. 25%, exposure per unit of pesticide applied slightly increased, and a reduction in risk per unit exposure by factors of 1.4 to 5. Thereafter, there were no consistent changes in use between 1996 and 2012, with an increase in number of applications to each crop balanced by a decrease in average application rate. Exposure per unit of pesticide applied decreased consistently over this period such that values in 2012 for this metric were 48-65% of those in 1987, and there were further smaller decreases in risk per unit exposure. All aggregated hazard quotients were two to three orders of magnitude smaller than one, despite the inherent simplifications of assuming co-occurrence of exposure to all pesticides and additivity of effects. Hazard quotients at 1000 m were 5 to 30 times smaller than those at 100 m. There were clear signals of the impact of regulatory intervention in improving the fate and hazard profiles of pesticides over the period investigated.

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© The Author(s) 2017.

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