Effects of pesticide mixtures in human and animal models: An update of the recent literature

Chem Biol Interact. 2016 Jul 25;254:231-46. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2016.06.003. Epub 2016 Jun 14.


This review aims to provide an update on our current knowledge of the various effects of pesticide cocktails. We have collected data from studies conducted in mammalian models in vitro and in vivo that was published between 2000 and 2014. All ecotoxicological studies were voluntarily excluded. Cocktail effects were classified according to how they had been classified by each author. The frequency of the various cocktail effects and the classes and chemical families of pesticides involved in the observed effects were assessed. When focusing on the function of pesticides (i.e. herbicide, insecticide or fungicide), 46% of the mixtures contained insecticides alone, 15% fungicides alone, and 4.5% herbicides alone. Mixtures with effects associated with neurotoxicity were mainly composed of insecticides, and most studies on the effects of fungicide mixtures (90%) were associated with effects on endocrine regulation and/or reproduction. Dose addition was observed with each kind of mixture except herbicide combinations. In contrast, synergic interactions or greater-than-additive effects were mainly reported for insecticide mixtures. There were few examples of potentiating and antagonistic interactions. We have identified chemical families of compounds specifically involved in synergy, addition, potentiation and antagonism, and those that do not interact when combined. The chemical families identified as being involved in synergy are in agreement with data from another recently published compilation of ecotoxicological studies. For most mixtures investigated, further validation data is still needed from experiments using other compounds and other experimental models but this update provides useful information to help in human health risk assessments.

Keywords: Addition; Antagonism; Cocktail effect; Interaction; Pesticides; Synergy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Drug Synergism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Models, Biological
  • Pesticides / chemistry*
  • Pesticides / toxicity


  • Pesticides