High levels of organochlorine pesticides found in vegetables

Photo Credit: Vinoth Chandar Photo Credit: Vinoth Chandar

A long list of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) has been identified as persistent organic pollutants, meaning that once they enter the environment, they do not degrade and are often transported long distances from their areas of original application, increasing risk of contamination and unintended exposure. While many OCPs are banned or restricted in countries around the world, they are still used throughout much of India. A recent study published in the journal Environmental Science Pollution Research sought to determine the risk associated with consuming vegetables grown conventionally near Delhi, India. There, vegetables were sampled during both the winter and summer months and tested for the presence of 20 different OCPs. OCP residues were found on all vegetables, the majority of which exceeded the maximum residue levels. Health risk assessments determined that OCP residues were high enough in most cases to exceed the acceptable limits to pose a serious health concern especially for children. “There is an urgent need to prevent further release of OCPs into the environment through strict regulatory measures,” the researchers said.