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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Detection of pesticides used in rice cultivation in streams on the island of Leyte in the Philippines

Elfman, Lena; Tooke, Nigel E.; Patring, Johan


Targeted sampling of water was performed in streams, the river mouth, and the municipal drinking-water tap in the vicinity of San Francisco, South Leyte, Philippines. Samples were processed on site and transported back to Sweden for analysis by gas chromatography mass spectrometry to identify and quantify the pesticides commonly used in the area. Collaborations were initiated with employees at the local Department of Agriculture and Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council to learn more about the rice cultivation in this area and times for spraying. Detectable levels of pesticides lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin and deltamethrin (0.0005-1.4 mu g/L) were found in representative water samples. In 47% of samples the detected levels exceeded the recommended limit values for pesticides in surface water according to Swedish guidelines (Swedish Chemicals Agency, 2008). The analysis of samples taken at the river mouth revealed measurable levels of lambda-cyhalothrin and cypermethrin, which means that residues of pesticides applied to rice paddy fields were shown to end up at the river mouth. The success of the sampling and analysis methods was confirmed by the data which was in accordance with the expected effect of dilution from day to day. Variable levels of insecticides in the river and all the way down to the sea may have adverse health effects on people using the water and on the aquatic environment, including sensitive coral reefs. This situation is applicable not only to the Philippines, but also to the whole of Southeast Asia, with approximately 70% of their human population living in coastal areas. As Southeast Asia encompasses approximately 34% of the world's coral reefs and between a quarter and a third of the world's mangroves, as well as the global biodiversity triangle formed by the Malay Peninsula, the Philippines, and New Guinea, the need to reduce the impacts of marine pollution in this region is of great importance. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Rice cultivation; Pesticides; Surface water; Environment; Toxicity; Philippines

Published in

Agricultural Water Management
2011, Volume: 101, number: 1, pages: 81-87

    SLU Authors

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG6 Clean water and sanitation
    SDG14 Life below water

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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