Pesticide exposure--Egyptian scene

Toxicology. 2004 May 20;198(1-3):91-115. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2004.01.036.


Pesticides have contributed to dramatic increases in crop yields and in the quantity and variety of the diet. Also, they have helped to limit the spread of certain diseases. But pesticides have harmful effects; they can cause injury to human health as well as to the environment. The range of these adverse health effects includes acute and persistent injury to the nervous system, lung damage, injury to the reproductive organs, dysfunction of the immune and endocrine systems, birth defects, and cancer. Problems associated with pesticide hazards to man and the environment are not confined to the developing countries. Developed nations have already suffered these problems, and still facing some problems in certain locations. For many reasons, the severity of pesticide hazards is much pronounced in Third World Countries. A number of long persistent organochlorines and highly toxic organophosphates, which have been banned or severely restricted, are still marketed and used in many developing countries. The misuse of pesticides by concerned individuals, in addition to lack of or weak national controlling plans are behind the outbreak of adverse effects in developing countries. Since about 25 years, the use of DDT and many other organochlorine pesticides in Egyptian agriculture has been banned. However, these long persistent compounds are still detectable in many different types of environmental samples (e.g., water, fish, sediment, vegetables, fruits, milk, foodstuffs, etc.). Large number of compounds known as "extremely hazardous", "highly hazardous", "probable human carcinogenic", and "possible human carcinogenic", are listed among the pesticides registered and recommended for use in Egypt during the season of 2001/2002. The present article deals with: trends and patterns of pesticide use, impact of pesticides on human health, factors contributing to pesticide risks, environmental impacts of pesticides, and bioaccumulation of pesticide residues in food; giving special concern to the situation in Egypt.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Egypt / epidemiology
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pesticide Residues / analysis*
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Pesticides / classification
  • Poison Control Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Health
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Pesticide Residues
  • Pesticides
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical