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Assessment of exposure to pesticide residues in Tunisian crop greenhouses


Academic year: 2021

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During cultivation, chili pepper and tomato require the use of a broad range of pesticides to prevent and control pests and diseases. Fruits and vegetables are sprayed several times and up to the final harvest. Harvested products are often put onto the markets without consideration of the pre-harvest interval (PHI). As a consequence, the pesticide residues left on fruits can generate a potential health hazard for consumers. Many pesticides applied on tomatoes and chili peppers are persistent, dislodgeable by contact with the hands, and fat-soluble. As they can easily be absorbed through skin contact, farm workers who harvest tomatoes and chili peppers daily and for several hours can potentially be exposed to residual deposits of pesticides and possibly endanger their health.


The aim of this study is to assess assess the potential exposure for some consumers groups and farm workers during the harvest tasks through models

Material & methods


According to potential dermal exposure values, workers who spend several hours on a daily basis in greenhouses are at risk during re-entry activities, with potential effects on their health. Observations completed by analytical results indicate multiple pesticide applications leading to MRL exceedances and probable acute risk for Tunisian consumers There is an urgent need for awareness raising amongst professionals’ and training on good practices and hygiene rules to avoid their excessive exposure. This survey should be completed later by a bio-monitoring of the operators during spraying and workers during re-entry activities, with analysis of blood, urine and hair samples.

Assessment of exposure to pesticide residues in Tunisian crop


Khaoula TOUMI, Laure JOLY, Christiane VLEMINCKX & Bruno SCHIFFERS

Pesticide Science Laboratory– Gembloux Agro Bio Tech – University of Liege


Ten volunteers working in tomato and chili pepper greenhouses were chosen at random to evaluate their potential dermal exposure (PDE). Two pairs of cotton gloves were distributed to each worker and worn during two consecutive half days during harvesting fruits in 20 tomato and chili pepper greenhouses (from min 2 h to max 3 h/day). Sampling : tomatoes (10 samples ) + chili peppers (10 samples )

Analyse: multi-residue+combination (GC-MS/MS and LC-MS/MS)

PDE (mg/kg bw per day) = (C T (mg/kg) × GW (kg) × 4) / bw (kg)

C : concentration of the substance in the sub-sample (5 g) GW : average weight of the cotton gloves samples (61 g ) T : task duration (2 h during the trial; 8 h per day),

bw : body weight (conventionally, 60 kg).

SE (mg/kg bw per day) = PDE × 0.75

Risk : SE > AOEL (Acceptable Operator Exposure Level)

Predicted Short Term Intake (PSTI) = (LP × OR × v) / bw LP : the 97.5th percentile of the portion size in kg food per day,

OR: is the observed residue level the sample (in mg/kg), bw : is the mean body weight (in kg)

v : variability factor

Risk : PSTI > ARfD (Acute Reference Dose)

Toumi, K., Joly, L., Tarchoun N., Souabni, L., Bouaziz, M., Vleminckx, C., & Schiffers, B. (2018). Risk assessment of Tunisian consumers and farm workers exposed to residues after pesticide application in chili peppers and tomatoes. Tunisian Journal of Plant Protection. (in press).


worker risk assessment


Consumer risk Assessment


Tomatoes :

chlorpyrifo ethyl (2685% of LMR)

 Chili peppers : acetamiprid (156% of LMR), propagite (2000% of

LMR), proquinazid (341% ; 451 % of LMR), thiophanate methyl (298%; 324% of LMR)


PSTI of the insecticide

chlorpyrifos-ethyl exceeds the ARfD with a factor of 3.1 times (312%).


Results & Discussion

International conference on environmental pollution, risk assessment and remediation 2018

Email : khaoula.toumi@doct.ulg.ac.be

Pesticide residues detected 57 63

Average pesticide residues per sample 18 18

Average total concentration of residues (mg/kg) 111 148

Most severely contaminated sample (mg/kg) 622 939

For tomato greenhouses 15 pesticide residues For chili pepper greenhouses 9 pesticide residues


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