Environmental risk assessment for sustainable pesticide use in coffee production

J Contam Hydrol. 2018 Dec:219:18-27. doi: 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2018.08.008. Epub 2018 Aug 30.


The extensive use of pesticides in agricultural practices has been associated with human health problems and environmental contamination worldwide. Brazil is the largest consumer of pesticides in the world and Espírito Santo State stands out as the second Brazilian producer of coffee. However, there is no information about environmental impact of coffee producing at Itapemirim River Basin (IRB) region, Espírito Santo State, Brazil; hence a simple and quick method using open access softwares (AGROSCRE and ARAquá Web) to estimate surface entrainment and pesticide leaching potential was carried out. AGROSCRE evaluates the contamination risk of superficial and groundwater by Active Ingredients (AIs), using GOSS Method, GUS index and US EPA criteria, while ARAquá Web estimates AI concentrations in water resources, indicating their suitability based on water quality requirements for different uses. Regarding pesticides used in coffee plantations, there is 44.7% chance of surface water and 23.7% chance of groundwater contamination. Results showed that ametryne, cyproconazole, diuron, epoxiconazole, flutriafol, triadimenol and triazophos pose contamination risk to both surface water and groundwater in the IRB region. Of these, 10.5% of the total AIs are triazoles and fall under environmental classes II and III (Product Very/Dangerous to the Environment). The AIs ametryne, thiamethoxam, iprodione, flutriafol, triazophos, endosulfan, triadimenol, cyproconazole, diuron, pendimethalin, chlorpyrifos, copper II hydroxide, etion, epoxiconazole and paraquat dichloride, were found to be potentially toxic, presenting environmental concentrations ranging from 123.40 μg L-1 to 0.14 μg L-1, which are higher than the safety standard for potable water (0.1 μg L-1). With respect to these AIs, chlorpyrifos, ethion and triazophos showed concentrations higher than EC50 values for aquatic invertebrates and ametryne and diuron for algae. Thus, local residents and environment may be at high risk of pesticide exposure, when these AIs are used in coffee plantations next to surface water or groundwater.

Keywords: Agrochemicals; Contamination; Leaching potential; Mathematical modelling; Surface waters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Brazil
  • Coffee*
  • Drinking Water
  • Environmental Monitoring* / methods
  • Groundwater
  • Humans
  • Organothiophosphates
  • Pesticides / analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rivers
  • Triazoles
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / analysis


  • Coffee
  • Drinking Water
  • Organothiophosphates
  • Pesticides
  • Triazoles
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • triadimefon
  • triazophos
  • flutriafol