Health risk assessment of pesticide residues in processed cereal-based complementary foods for infants and young children

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Thirty six pesticides comprising 13 organophosphorous, 14 organochlorine and 9 synthetic pyrethroid pesticides were analyzed in 10 brands of processed cereal-based complementary foods for older infants and young children. The QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged and safe) method was used for extraction and clean-up. Subsequent detection and quantification was done using Gas Ghromatograph equipped with Electron Capture Detector and Pulse Flame P hotometric Detector. Estimated Daily Intakes of pesticides were also determined. The results indicated that mean concentrations for all processed cereal -based complementary food ranged from 0.001 – 0.0126 mgkg - 1 for OPs, 0.002 – 0.022 mgkg -1 for OCs and 0.002 – 0.017 mgkg -1 for pyrethroids. The OP pesticide with the highest concentration was methamidophos; lindane (γ -HCH) recorded the highest concentration amongst the OCs detected whilst permethrin recorded the highest concentration amongst the pyrethroids detected. Maximum residue limit of 0.01 mgkg -1 for baby food was exceeded for the following OP pesticides: pirimiphos-methyl in baby food I; fenitrothion in baby food E and I; chlorpyrifos in baby food C ; and methamidophos in baby food F). For the OCs the following pesticides exceeded the MRL of 0.01 mgkg -1 : p,p’-DDE in baby food G; dieldrin in baby food G; β-endosulfan in baby food B; β-HCH in baby food C and I ; and γ -HCH in baby food D and E . In the case of synthetic pyrethroid pesticides, cypermethrin in baby food J and permethrin in baby food D exceeded the MRL for baby foods. Results from exposure assessment indicated that EDI for OP and synthetic pyrethroid pesticides were below the acceptable daily intakes (ADI). The non-carcinogenic risk assessment conducted for these pesticides indicated Hazard Index (HI) of less than 1 for both OP and synthetic pyrethroid pesticides. The exposure levels of γ-HCH in baby food D and E, heptachlor in baby food E and dieldrin in baby food G and H were higher than their respective ADI. The three OC pesticides subsequently recorded HIs greater than 1 indicating the possibility of adverse health effect on consumers. The Hazard Ratio (HR) for carcinogenic risk for OC was greater than 1 for β-HCH in baby food A, C, D and I; dieldrin in baby food F, G and H; heptachlor in baby food E and F; γ-HCH in baby food B; and γ-chlordane in baby food E. This result raises serious concerns of possible carcinogenicity for infants and young children.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Food Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Food Quality Management,