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Pesticide residue analysis and its relationship to hazard characterisation (ADI/ARfD) and intake estimations (NEDI/NESTI)

Andrew G Renwick
Pest Management Science 2002, 58 (10): 1073-82
12400449
Over 800 pesticides are currently approved for use in one or more EU countries. The maximum residue levels (MRL) for agricultural pesticides are derived from field trials conducted under good agricultural practice (GAP). The MRL is a legally enforceable limit related to GAP. The results from field trials would only be used to establish MRLs if the estimated intake of residues did not exceed the acceptable daily intake (ADI) or acute reference dose (ARfD). However, the MRL is not linked to the ADI or ARfD, and could result in intakes considerably below the ADI/ARfD. This disconnection between hazard characterisation (ADI/ARfD) and potential exposure assessment (MRL) means that risk characterisation of pesticide residues is less transparent than for other chemicals present in human food. Residue levels at or below the MRL would not give intakes that exceed the ADI/ARfD but, despite this, there is public concern over such residues. Residue levels above the MRL have to be analysed on a case-by-case basis to determine if the intake could exceed the health-based limits. Other causes of public concern, such as the presence of multiple residues, are currently under investigation.

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