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A recent scientific study conducted as part of the Horizon 2020 funded SPRINT project, has unveiled the presence of pesticide residues in indoor environments. The study conducted across Europe and in Argentina, analysed 128 indoor dust samples from both conventional and organic farmworker households, shedding light on the scale of hazards people might be exposed to.

In contemporary agriculture, pesticides are widely used to safeguard crops against various threats. However, the unintended consequences of their use have raised significant concerns. The research, carried out by a team of respected scientists, sought to understand the scope of pesticide residue present in indoor environments and its implications for human exposure.

The comprehensive analysis, evaluating the presence of 198 pesticide residues, discovered a striking reality. Regardless of the household's farming practices, mixtures of pesticide residues were identified in all 128 dust samples. The number of pesticides in each home ranged between 25 and 121 and concentrations ranged from trace amounts to levels eight time higher (0.01 ng/g dust-206 μg/g dust). Notably, glyphosate and its degradation product AMPA, permethrin, cypermethrin, and piperonyl butoxide were detected at the highest concentrations.


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The study observed significantly higher levels of insecticides compared to herbicides and fungicides within the indoor dust samples. Furthermore, samples associated with organic farms displayed substantially lower levels of pesticide residues in both overall quantity and individual concentrations compared to their conventional farming counterparts.

Previously banned pesticides accounted for approximately 29% of the identified substances. Additionally, 32% of the detected pesticides were classified as posing potential acute and chronic threats to human health but not necessarily at the concentrations involved, while 21% had classifications related to ecological toxicity implications.

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Dr. Irene Navarro from CIEMAT, Spain and lead author of the study, emphasised the importance of further research to understand the long-term consequences of pesticide exposure in indoor environments. "Our findings highlight the need for research into comprehensive health risk assessments focused on indoor environments to evaluate the impact of complex pesticide mixtures on human wellbeing.”

This critical study confirms that farmers and their families are routinely exposed to pesticide residues in their homes. We do not yet have a complete understanding of the health risk this poses. However, the findings highlight the need for the marketing, usage, and disposal of pesticides to be regulated across their lifecycle and underscores the need for safer, sustainable farming practices that prioritise environmental and human wellbeing.

For more information on the study, please refer to the full publication:  

Navarro et al, (2023) Occurrence of pesticide residues in indoor dust of farmworker households across Europe and Argentina. Science of The Total Environment, 905, p.167797.



For further information or to request an interview with the SPRINT project lead, please contact:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Violette Geissen This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: +33 6 10883790