ISSN 1392-3196 / e-ISSN 2335-8947
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 107, No. 2 (2020), p. 131–138
DOI 10.13080/z-a.2020.107.017

Assessment of toxicity impacts of chemical protection of winter wheat, sugar beet and winter rape on aquatic ecosystems and humans

Małgorzata HOLKA, Jerzy BIEŃKOWSKI


The study aimed to assess the potential toxicity impacts of the application of plant protection products on aquatic ecosystems and humans. The analysis was based on the data on chemical protection of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) and winter rape (Brassica napus L.) collected in Trzebiny Agricultural Farm, located in Wielkopolska voivodeship, Poland. Routes and amounts of environmental emissions were determined using the model PestLCI 2.08. These results constituted inventory data in the studies by the life cycle assessment (LCA) method. The characterization model USEtox 2.02 was used to assess the freshwater ecotoxicity potential (FETP) and the human toxicity potential (HTP), including carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic effects. Among the analysed agricultural crops, the largest consumption of the active substances was noted in the protection products of sugar beet (7.43 kg ha-1), followed by winter wheat (2.64 kg ha-1) and the lowest was for winter rape (2.16 kg ha-1). Assessment of environmental emissions from plant protection showed that the largest amounts of active substances were available for leaching and surface runoff (average 91.7% of overall emissions). Emissions to the air and groundwater were smaller (on average 7.7% and 0.6%, respectively). There were no significant differences in the FETP impact among the analysed plants. The greatest threat to human (h) health resulted from chemical protection of sugar beet (1.7E − 05 comparative toxic unit (CTU)h ha-1), while the lowest value of the HTP impact was noted in the protection products of winter rape (3.3E − 06 CTUh ha-1).

The results showed that the total freshwater ecotoxicity and human toxicity impacts were associated with physico-chemical properties and toxicity of individual active substances. To more comprehensively evaluate the potential effects of plant protection products, a diverse range of active substances available for application should be considered.

Key words: active substances, environmental emissions, freshwater ecotoxicity, human toxicity.

Full text: 107_2_str17.pdf