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J Agric Food Chem. 2014 Jul 2;62(26):6082-90. doi: 10.1021/jf501397m. Epub 2014 Jun 23.

Quantitative analysis of neonicotinoid insecticide residues in foods: implication for dietary exposures.

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Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health , 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, United States.


This study quantitatively measured neonicotinoids in various foods that are common to human consumption. All fruit and vegetable samples (except nectarine and tomato) and 90% of honey samples were detected positive for at least one neonicotinoid; 72% of fruits, 45% of vegetables, and 50% of honey samples contained at least two different neonicotinoids in one sample, with imidacloprid having the highest detection rate among all samples. All pollen samples from New Zealand contained multiple neonicotinoids, and five of seven pollens from Massachusetts detected positive for imidacloprid. These results show the prevalence of low-level neonicotinoid residues in fruits, vegetables, and honey that are readily available in the market for human consumption and in the environment where honeybees forage. In light of new reports of toxicological effects in mammals, the results strengthen the importance of assessing dietary neonicotinoid intakes and the potential human health effects.

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