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"Exposure to environmental levels of some of these adjuvant mixtures can affect non-target organisms -- and even can cause chronic human disease," says Dr Robin Mesnage from King's College London, who co-wrote the review with Dr Michael Antoniou. "Despite this, adjuvants are not currently subject to an acceptable daily intake and are not included in the health risk assessment of dietary exposures to pesticide residues."
Pesticides are a mixture of chemicals made up of an active ingredient -- the substance that kills or repels a pest -- along with a mixture of other ingredients that help with the application or function of the active ingredient. These other ingredients are known as adjuvants, and include dyes, anti-foaming agents and surfactants.
Regulatory - Tests - Pesticide - Safety - Ingredient
Regulatory tests for pesticide safety are currently only done on the active ingredient, which assumes the other ingredients have no effects. This means the full toxicity of a pesticide formulation -- including those used in both agriculture and domestic gardens -- is not shown.
"Currently, the health risk assessment of pesticides in the European Union and in the United States focuses almost exclusively on the active ingredient," explains Dr Mesnage. "Despite the known toxicity of adjuvants, they are regulated differently from active principles, with their toxic effects being generally ignored."
Review - Pesticide - Literature - Authors - Chemicals
Based on a review of current pesticide literature, the authors describe how unregulated chemicals present in commercial formulations of pesticides could provide a missing link between pesticide exposure and observed negative outcomes.
The researchers focused on glyphosate-based herbicides,...
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