Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 385–396 | Cite as

Selection and ranking method for currently used pesticides (CUPs) monitoring in ambient air

  • Arnaud Giusti
  • Catherine Pirard
  • Corinne Charlier
  • Jérôme C. J. Petit
  • Sophie Crevecoeur
  • Suzanne Remy


Chronic exposure to pesticides can induce adverse human health effects. Even though ingestion is considered as the main exposure pathway, it is now suggested that inhalation might also be important not only in rural but also in urban locations. Therefore, assessment of currently used pesticides (CUPs) concentrations in ambient air is important for better understanding of human exposure through inhalation and potential health effects. Analytical methods do not allow assessing ambient air concentration of all the CUPs registered. Designing a cost-effective and a fitted-for-purpose monitoring strategy at the local/regional scale must therefore rely on a methodology allowing targeting CUPs by a ranking approach accounting for the most relevant selection criteria. In this study, after a first selection, a ranking method is used to identify most relevant CUPs for ambient air assessment in Wallonia, Belgium. This method took into account not only toxicological endpoints but also national and regional data on sales and uses along with other uses criteria. Moreover, probability to detect CUPs in ambient air was investigated using international, national, and regional studies and physicochemical properties. The ranking method used three main criteria (i.e., chronic toxicity, sales and uses, and presence in ambient air), which are divided in 17 sub-criteria, to provide the most accurate identification of CUPs that might be measured in ambient air and that might impact human health. After final selection based on analytical methods, 43 CUPs were further submitted to analytical method development.


Currently used pesticides Ambient air monitoring Prioritization Ranking Toxicity EXPOPESTEN 



French Accredited Associations for Air Quality Monitoring


Acceptable daily intake


Aminomethylphosphonic acid


Quebec Reference Center for Agriculture and Agri-Food


Currently used pesticides


Ethylene thiourea


International Agency for Research on Cancer


Pesticides Properties Database


US Environmental Protection Agency


World Health Organization



This work is part of the EXPOPESTEN project financially supported by ISSeP Funds using Moerman mechanism (article 275/3, § 3, of the Belgian Income Tax Code 92). Authors wish to thank members of the steering committee of the EXPOPESTEN project for their advices during development of the selection and ranking methods. Authors also thank the Direction de l'Analyse Économique Agricole (DAEA) of the Direction Générale Opérationnelle Agriculture, Ressources Naturelles et Environnement (DGO3) of the Walloon Public Service (SPW), and the Comité Régional PHYTO of the ASBL CORDER for the providing of data.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11869_2017_516_MOESM1_ESM.docx (36 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 35 kb)


  1. AirBreizh (2007) Campagne de mesures de produits phytosanitaires à Mordelles (35) du 12 avril au 5 juillet 2006Google Scholar
  2. Aulagnier F, Poissant L, Brunet D et al (2008) Pesticides measured in air and precipitation in the Yamaska Basin (Québec): occurrence and concentrations in 2004. Sci Total Environ 394:338–348. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker LW, Fitzell DL, Seiber JN et al (1996) Ambient air concentrations of pesticides in California. Environ Sci Technol 30:1365–1368. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baraud L, Tessier D, Aaron J-J et al (2003) A multi-residue method for characterization and determination of atmospheric pesticides measured at two French urban and rural sampling sites. Anal Bioanal Chem 377:1148–1152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bedos C, Cellier P, Calvet R et al (2002) Mass transfer of pesticides into the atmosphere by volatilization from soils and plants: overview. Agronomie 22:21–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bergman Ǻ, Heindel JJ, Jobling S et al (2013) State of the science of endocrine disrupting chemicals 2012: an assessment of the state of the science of endocrine disruptors prepared by a group of experts for the United Nations Environment Programme and World Health Organization. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  7. Cogliano VJ, Baan R, Straif K et al (2011) Preventable exposures associated with human cancers. J Natl Cancer Inst 103:1827–1839CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coscollà C, Colin P, Yahyaoui A et al (2010) Occurrence of currently used pesticides in ambient air of Centre Region (France). Atmos Environ 44:3915–3925CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coscollà C, Castillo M, Pastor A, Yusà V (2011) Determination of 40 currently used pesticides in airborne particulate matter (PM 10) by microwave-assisted extraction and gas chromatography coupled to triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. Anal Chim Acta 693:72–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Coscollà C, Hart E, Pastor A, Yusà V (2013) LC-MS characterization of contemporary pesticides in PM10 of Valencia Region, Spain. Atmos Environ 77:394–403. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Damstra T, Barlow S, Bergman A, Kavlock R, Van Der Kraak G (2002) Global assessment of the state-of the-science of endocrine disruptors. World Health Organization, Geneva, pp 11–32Google Scholar
  12. Egeghy PP, Vallero DA, Cohen Hubal EA (2011) Exposure-based prioritization of chemicals for risk assessment. Environ Sci Pol 14:950–964. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Espallardo TV, Muñoz A, Palau JL (2012) Pesticide residues in the atmosphere. Pestic Eval Environ Pollut:203–232Google Scholar
  14. EU (2014) EU pesticides database—active substances - Regulation (EC) N°1107/2009. 28:2014.
  15. Feng-chih C, Simcik MF, Capel PD et al (2011) Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphere. Environ Toxicol Chem 30:548–555. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Garron C, Ernst B, Julien G et al (2012) Concentrations and environmental risk of chlorothalonil in air near potato fields in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Pest Manag Sci 68:92–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gouin T, Shoeib M, Harner T (2008) Atmospheric concentrations of current-use pesticides across south-central Ontario using monthly-resolved passive air samplers. Atmos Environ 42:8096–8104. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gunier RB, Harnly ME, Reynolds P et al (2001) Agricultural pesticide use in California: pesticide prioritization, use densities, and population distributions for a childhood cancer study. Environ Health Perspect 109:1071CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hart E, Coscollà C, Pastor A, Yusà V (2012) GC–MS characterization of contemporary pesticides in PM10 of Valencia Region, Spain. Atmos Environ 62:118–129. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. IARC (2006) Preamble to the IARC Monographs. Lyon, Fr Available online http//monographs iarc fr/ENG/Preamble/index php. Accessed 9:2015Google Scholar
  21. International Agency for Research on Cancer (2015) IARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides. World Health Organization, LyonGoogle Scholar
  22. Juraske R, Antón A, Castells F, Huijbregts MAJ (2007) PestScreen: a screening approach for scoring and ranking pesticides by their environmental and toxicological concern. Environ Int 33:886–893. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kamel F, Hoppin JA (2004) Association of pesticide exposure with neurologic dysfunction and disease. Environ Health Perspect 112:950–958CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kortenkamp A, Martin O, Faust M, et al (2011) State of the art assessment of endocrine disrupters. Final Report 23Google Scholar
  25. Koureas M, Tsakalof A, Tsatsakis A, Hadjichristodoulou C (2012) Systematic review of biomonitoring studies to determine the association between exposure to organophosphorus and pyrethroid insecticides and human health outcomes. Toxicol Lett 210:155–168. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kurt-Karakus PB, Teixeira C, Small J et al (2011) Current-use pesticides in inland lake waters, precipitation, and air from Ontario, Canada. Environ Toxicol Chem 30:1539–1548. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kurttio P, Vartiainen T, Savolainen K (1990) Environmental and biological monitoring of exposure to ethylenebisdithiocarbamate fungicides and ethylenethiourea. Br J Ind Med 47:203Google Scholar
  28. LeNoir JS, McConnell LL, Fellers GM et al (1999) Summertime transport of current-use pesticides from California’s Central Valley to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, USA. Environ Toxicol Chem 18:2715–2722. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lentza-Rizos C (1990) Ethylenethiourea (ETU) in relation to use of ethylenebisdithiocarbamate (EBDC) fungicides. In: Ware GW (ed) Reviews of environmental contamination and toxicology: continuation of residue reviews. Springer New York, New York, pp 1–37Google Scholar
  30. Lewis KA, Tzilivakis J, Warner DJ, Green A (2016) An international database for pesticide risk assessments and management. Hum Ecol Risk Assess An Int J 22:1050–1064. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lichiheb N, Bedos C, Personne E, Barriuso E (2015) Synthèse des connaissances sur le transfert des pesticides vers l’atmosphère par volatilisation depuis les plantes 2268–3798.
  32. Mai C, Theobald N, Lammel G, Hühnerfuss H (2013) Spatial, seasonal and vertical distributions of currently-used pesticides in the marine boundary layer of the North Sea. Atmos Environ 75:92–102. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Majewski MS, Coupe RH, Foreman WT, Capel PD (2014) Pesticides in Mississippi air and rain: a comparison between 1995 and 2007. Environ Toxicol Chem 33:1283–1293. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mitchell J, Arnot JA, Jolliet O et al (2013) Comparison of modeling approaches to prioritize chemicals based on estimates of exposure and exposure potential. Sci Total Environ 458–460:555–567. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mnif W, Hassine AIH, Bouaziz A et al (2011) Effect of endocrine disruptor pesticides: a review. Int J Environ Res Public Health 8:2265–2303. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mostafalou S, Abdollahi M (2013) Pesticides and human chronic diseases: evidences, mechanisms, and perspectives. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 268:157–177. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. World Health Organization (2014) 13th report on carcinogens. National Toxicology Program. Public Health Service, Research Triangle Park, USAGoogle Scholar
  38. OJEU (2009) Directive 2009/128/EC of the European parliament and of the council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides. L309/71 2009/128/E:16Google Scholar
  39. OJEU (2011) Commission Regulation (EU) No 656/2011 of 7 July 2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning statistics on pesticides, as regards definitions and list of active substances Text with EEA relevanc. L180/3 36Google Scholar
  40. Regional Belgian Plan: PWRP I (2013-2017) - Programme wallon de réduction des pesticides 2013-2017.
  41. Reus J, Leendertse P, Bockstaller C et al (2002) Comparison and evaluation of eight pesticide environmental risk indicators developed in Europe and recommendations for future use. Agric Ecosyst Environ 90:177–187. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Samuel O, Dion S, St-Laurent L (2012) Indicateur de risque de pesticides du Québec: IRPeQ: santé et environnement (2e édition). Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du QuébecGoogle Scholar
  43. Sarigiannis DA, Kontoroupis P, Solomou ES et al (2013) Inventory of pesticide emissions into the air in Europe. Atmos Environ 75:6–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sauret N, Wortham H, Putaud J-P, Mirabel P (2008) Study of the effects of environmental parameters on the gas/particle partitioning of current-use pesticides in urban air. Atmos Environ 42:544–553. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Scheyer A, Morville S, Mirabel P, Millet M (2007) Variability of atmospheric pesticide concentrations between urban and rural areas during intensive pesticide application. Atmos Environ 41:3604–3618CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Schummer C, Mothiron E, Appenzeller BR et al (2010) Gas/particle partitioning of currently used pesticides in the atmosphere of Strasbourg (France). Air Qual Atmos Health 3:171–181. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Segawa R, Levine J, Neal R, Brattesani M (2014) Community air monitoring for pesticides. Part 1: selecting pesticides and a community. Environ Monit Assess 186:1327–1341. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sheldon LS (2010) Chapter 42—exposure framework. In: Krieger R (ed) Hayes’ handbook of pesticide toxicology, Third edn. Academic Press, New York, pp 971–976Google Scholar
  49. Sugeng AJ, Beamer PI, Lutz EA, Rosales CB (2013) Hazard-ranking of agricultural pesticides for chronic health effects in Yuma County, Arizona. Sci Total Environ 463–464:35–41. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Chemicals Evaluated for Carcinogenic Potential. Office of Pesticide Programs. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Annual Cancer Report 2014Google Scholar
  51. White LM, Ernst WR, Julien G et al (2006) Ambient air concentrations of pesticides used in potato cultivation in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Pest Manag Sci 62:126–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wofford P, Segawa R, Schreider J et al (2014) Community air monitoring for pesticides. Part 3: using health-based screening levels to evaluate results collected for a year. Environ Monit Assess 186:1355–1370. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Yao Y, Tuduri L, Harner T et al (2006) Spatial and temporal distribution of pesticide air concentrations in Canadian agricultural regions. Atmos Environ 40:4339–4351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Yao Y, Harner T, Blanchard P et al (2008) Pesticides in the atmosphere across Canadian agricultural regions. Environ Sci Technol 42:5931–5937. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Yusà V, Coscollà C, Mellouki W et al (2009) Sampling and analysis of pesticides in ambient air. J Chromatogr A 1216:2972–2983CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Direction of Chronic Risks, Environment and Health TeamInstitut Scientifique de Service Public (ISSeP)LiègeBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Clinical, Forensic and Environmental ToxicologyUniversity of Liege (ULg)LiegeBelgium

Personalised recommendations