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
Quebec Reference Center for Agriculture and Agri-Food
Currently used pesticides
International Agency for Research on Cancer
Pesticides Properties Database
US Environmental Protection Agency
World Health Organization
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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.
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