Luiz Felippe De Alencastro, Edouard René Gilbert Lehmann, Jean-Jacques Stéphane Nfon Dibie, Christelle Oltramare
The present work assesses human exposure to pesticides in vegetable-producing areas in Burkina Faso, using hair as an indicator. The study design includes a comparison between operators who are occupationally exposed while working in the fields and a reference population (i.e. not occupationally exposed) to evaluate both oc- cupational and indirect exposures. Hair samples from volunteers (n = 101) were positive for 17 pesticides (38 analyzed). Acetamiprid, desethylatrazine, carbofuran, and deltamethrin were detected for the first time in field samples. With a maximum of 9 residues per sample, pesticide exposure was ubiquitous in both populations. Contamination by acetamiprid, cypermethrin, and lambda-cyhalothrin (used in vegetable production) prevailed in operator samples. For other pesticides, such as imidacloprid and deltamethrin, no significant difference was found. This indicates a potentially large environmental exposure (dietary intake or atmospheric contamination) or the prevalence of other contamination sources. The present findings are concerning, as detected levels are globally higher than those previously reported, and indicate exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals and probable carcinogens. Hair was found to be a suitable matrix for biomonitoring human exposure to pesticides and assessing dominant factors (i.e. sex, age, and protective equipment) in subgroups, as well as identifying geographical contamination patterns.