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CHLORPYRIFOS, EU health concerns for its presence in food

CHLORPYRIFOS, EU health concerns for its presence in food

Due to the free movement of goods in Europe, pesticide residues can travel on board of fruits, vegetables and other foods to the countries where they are prohibited. This is the case of chlorpyrifos. There are studies and investigations that prove the presence of this insecticide in countries where it is not authorised.

Chlorpyrifos is one of the most detected pesticides in the annual tests conducted by national authorities in random samples of food. Moreover, chlorpyrifos was also the most present endocrine disruptor insecticide in fruits and vegetables tested in 2015, according to a report by the NGO Pesticide Action Network (PAN Europe) based on these official data centralized by the EFSA.

In the European Union, eight countries banned this insecticide for all its uses (Germany, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Sweden).

An analysis of the NGOs Health and Environment Alliance and PAN Europe, not yet published, designates citrus fruits and peelable fruits as the most contaminated in 2016. The citrus fruits of the producing countries of southern Europe are those that have more waste. On the other hand, 374 samples registered by EFSA in 2016 contained chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl (another formulation of the insecticide) above the limit allowed by European regulations.

The maximum recommended daily dose per person is established in Europe at 1 microgram per kilogram of body weight per day. The United States recommends a dose more than eight hundred times lower.

In February 2017, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) revised the “maximum residue limits” and detected that there are possible chronic risks for the consumer of food contaminated with this insecticide. According to this assessment, there are people that could be consuming 199% of the tolerable daily intake in chronic exposure, while an excess of almost 800% of the acute reference dose (on short term exposure) was identified for apples, pears, peaches, grapes, peppers and quince.

On the other hand, scientists specializing in children’s brain development believe that any exposure to chlorpyrifos represents a danger to them.


Ref.: Le Monde 18/06/2019

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