Human exposure to organochlorine pesticides in vegetables from major cities in south-south Nigeria

Chemosphere. 2022 Sep;303(Pt 3):135296. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.135296. Epub 2022 Jun 9.


Contamination of vegetables with organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) during cultivation could affect their nutritional value and also results in adverse health effects to consumers. Thus, this study evaluates human exposure to OCPs in vegetables from major cities in south-south Nigeria. A total of eighty vegetables consisting of Vernonia amygdalina, Telfairia occidentalis, Desmodium intortum cv and Talinum triangulare obtained from four major cities (Warri, Benin, Yenagoa and Port-Harcourt) in south-south Nigeria were analysed for OCPs using a gas chromatograph coupled with a mass selective detector. The results showed that the mean concentration of ∑20 OCPs in the vegetables ranged from 11.6 to 37.7 ng g-1 fresh wt for Vernonia amygdalina, 2.48-37.0 ng g-1 fresh wt for Telfairia occidentalis, 7.63-54.2 ng g-1 fresh wt for Desmodium intortum cv and 27.3-57.3 ng g-1 fresh wt for Talinum triangulare. The concentrations of OCPs were generally lower than their respective Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs). The EDI values of the ∑20 OCPs in the vegetables ranged from 141 to 464 ng kg-1 bw day-1 for children and 26.5-87.0 ng kg-1 bw day-1 for adults. The EDI of ∑Drins, ∑Chlordanes and ∑DDTs for the vegetables were below their respective acceptable EDI values set by FAO/WHO Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residue. The hazard index values for children and adults were generally <1 suggesting that there is no potential non-carcinogenic risk for children and adults consuming the vegetables. The total cancer risk values were above 1 × 10-6 and indicated that children and adults have moderate and low carcinogenic risks respectively from ingestion of these vegetables. The isomeric ratios and principal component analysis result showed that OCPs in these vegetables originated from both historical and recent usage in vegetable cultivation.

Keywords: Daily intake; Nigeria; OCPs; Risks; Vegetables.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • China
  • Cities
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated* / analysis
  • Nigeria
  • Pesticides* / analysis
  • Vegetables / chemistry


  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Pesticides