Consumers expect to have a high quality, low-cost and healthy food supply. Dow AgroSciences provides chlorpyrifos-containing products to support sustainable production of food, fiber and animal feeds to meet the needs of a growing population. Maintaining human and environmental safety standards in connection with agricultural production practices is a key responsibility that Dow AgroSciences takes seriously, and actively works to accomplish in collaboration with the EPA and other regulatory agencies.

Food Residues

How much pesticide is too much?

“The nation’s leading toxicologists agree – the mere “presence” of pesticide residue does not mean that the food is harmful in any way.”

-- The Alliance for Food and Farming website

Try their Pesticide Residue Calculator

Trace amounts of pesticide residues may be present on harvested food crops as a result of pest management practices during the growing season. To support EPA establishment of food quality standards protective of human health, field trials in which maximum allowed applications are made to crops are conducted so that maximum trace residues in harvested crops (e.g., oranges) and processed products (e.g., orange juice) can be determined. EPA uses this data to establish tolerances, which are legal limits on residues allowed on food or feed. EPA also uses the data to set required pre-harvest intervals, which are the periods of time between when a last pesticide application occurs and the crop may be harvested. Consumer exposure assessments for various age-related diets are completed to confirm that presence of these residues will not exceed acute or chronic limits on allowable exposures. The EPA assessment process also quantifies the many factors which can contribute to a reduction of actual residues which reach the consumer’s dinner plate, versus the US tolerance legal limit. Reduction of residues can occur via degradation during transport, storage, processing, food preparation and cooking. Only uses which can be demonstrated as falling within approved limits are allowed.

Dow AgroSciences has generated a large database of field trials providing information on chlorpyrifos residues which may be present in harvested foods and processed commodities. EPA has set standards (tolerances) for chlorpyrifos residues for a number of crops, and as part of the tolerance establishment and periodic review process the Agency ensures that expected trace levels will be within acceptable limits. Market-basket monitoring data on actual residue levels occurring in the U.S. food supply (both domestically grown and imported) is also collected on an ongoing basis by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state agencies. Such data are used to confirm that actual exposures to the U.S. population continue to fall below established limits . For chlorpyrifos, USDA , FDA and state (e.g., California EPA ) monitoring data reveals that, although trace levels may occur in various foods, levels continue to be within acceptable limits.

Drinking Water

Traces of pesticides and fertilizers have the potential to be found in surface and ground waters that may be used for animal or human consumption. For chlorpyrifos, EPA has used worst-case computer modeling estimates to predict, based on how products are used and environmental properties, the likelihood and magnitude that such trace residues may be present in drinking water. Dow AgroSciences notes that, in the case of chlorpyrifos, a decade (2001-2009) of water monitoring by USDA that included 7,603 samples collected in 29 states found no detections of chlorpyrifos residues in drinking water supplies. Dow AgroSciences and other stakeholders believe it is important to fully utilize this real-world monitoring data to support regulatory decision-making.

Further Resources

USDA Pesticide Data Program residue monitoring reports:

FDA Pesticide Residue Monitoring reports:

California Pesticide Residue Monitoring reports:

Alliance for Food and Farming:

Krieger, R.. “Perspective on Pesticide Residues in Fruits and Vegetables”. Department of Entomology, University of California - Riverside, 2010

Bolles, H.G. et al. “U.S. Market Basket Study To Determine Residues of the Insecticide Chlorpyrifos”, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 1999, Volume 47(5): 1817-1822