Risk assessment of pesticides used in rice-prawn concurrent systems in Bangladesh

Kizar Ahmed Sumon*, Andreu Rico, Mechteld M.S. Ter Horst, Paul J. Van den Brink, Mohammad Mahfujul Haque, Harunur Rashid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


The objectives of the current study were to determine the occupational health hazards posed by the application of pesticides in rice-prawn concurrent systems of south-west Bangladesh and to assess their potential risks for the aquatic ecosystems that support the culture of freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii). Information on pesticide use in rice-prawn farming was collected through structured interviews with 38 farm owners held between January and May of 2012. The risks of the pesticide use to human health were assessed through structured interviews. The TOXSWA model was used to calculate pesticide exposure (peak and time-weighted average concentrations) in surface waters of rice-prawn systems for different spray drift scenarios and a simple first tier risk assessment based on threshold concentrations derived from single species toxicity tests were used to assess the ecological risk in the form of risk quotients. The PERPEST model was used to refine the ecological risks when the first tier assessment indicated a possible risk. Eleven synthetic insecticides and one fungicide (sulphur) were recorded as part of this investigation. The most commonly reported pesticide was sulphur (used by 29% of the interviewed farmers), followed by thiamethoxam, chlorantraniliprole, and phenthoate (21%). A large portion of the interviewed farmers described negative health symptoms after pesticide applications, including vomiting (51%), headache (18%) and eye irritation (12%). The results of the first tier risk assessment indicated that chlorpyrifos, cypermethrin, alpha-cypermethrin, and malathion may pose a high to moderate acute and chronic risks for invertebrates and fish in all evaluated spray drift scenarios. The higher tier assessment using the PERPEST model confirmed the high risk of cypermethrin, alpha-cypermethrin, and chlorpyrifos for insects and macro- and micro-crustaceans thus indicating that these pesticides may have severe adverse consequences for the prawn production yields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-506
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Environmental risk assessment
  • Macrobrachium rosenbergii
  • Occupational health hazards
  • Pesticides


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