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Pesticide contamination of water poses health risks for humans

Jan 29, 2016
Photo credit: Adam Khatava

Photo credit: Adam Khatava

A recent study published in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment assessed the health risk of waters contaminated with pesticides to humans. Researchers quantified the levels of contamination in water, sediment, and the Catla catla fish for six different pesticides including endosulfan, carbofuran, cypermethrin, profenofos, triazophos, and deltamethrin. Many of these pesticides are frequently used in conventional agricultural production and can contaminate fresh water sources through runoff and seepage. Contamination of water sources that also provide habitat for fish commonly consumed by humans is of particular concern as they provide a clear pathway for human exposure via consumption of contaminated fish that accumulate toxins in their flesh. Researchers found that the pesticides endosulfan and profenofos were detected the most frequently and in the highest concentrations in fish and sediment samples, Profenofos and cypermethrin were the most abundant in water samples. “The concentration of endosulfan, carbofuran and deltamethrin were higher than the permissible limits for fish set by international agencies and pose a potential ecological risk to the aquatic ecosystem and a consequent hazard to human health,” the authors reported.

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