Life cycle toxicity assessment of pesticides used in integrated and organic production of oranges in the Comunidad Valenciana, Spain

Autores UPV


The relative impacts of 25 pesticides including acaricides, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and post-harvest fungicides, used in the production of oranges in Spain were assessed with current life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) tools. Chemical specific concentrations were combined with pesticide emission data and information on chemical toxicity to assess human toxicity and freshwater ecotoxicity impacts. As a case study, the relative impacts of two orange production systems in the region of Valencia, integrated pest management (IP) and organic production (OP), were assessed. The evaluation of active ingredients showed that on average acaricides have the highest human toxicity impact scores, while for freshwater ecotoxicity insecticides show the highest impact. In both impact categories the lowest impact scores were calculated for herbicides. In the production of 1. kg of orange fruits, where several kinds of pesticides are combined, results show that post-harvest fungicides can contribute more than 95% to the aggregate human toxicity impacts. More than 85% of aquatic ecotoxicity is generated by fungicides applied before harvest. The potential to reduce impacts on freshwater ecosystems is seven orders of magnitude, while impacts on human health can be reduced by two orders of magnitude. Hence, this stresses the importance of a careful pre-selection of active ingredients. In both impact categories, organic production represents the least toxic pest-control method. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.