Residents' exposure to pesticides: Pendimethalin


Every year, tens of thousands of tonnes of pesticides are applied to crops.
Among these phytosanitary products, alongside fungicides and insecticides, the share of herbicides is not negligible.
In fact, according to the FAO, in 2018, more than 85,000 tonnes of pesticides were sold in France, including more than 34,000 tonnes of herbicides.

Spraying is the main method of application used to treat crops and drifts expose local residents to these toxic products. Since 2019, No-Treatment Zones (or NTAs) have been defined to protect local residents from exposure to pesticide residues.
Are these distances of 5 to 20 m sufficient to effectively protect local residents?

"Increasing no-treatment distances would reduce the exposure of local residents to pesticides".

To find out more, Générations Futures and YOOTEST are organising the first citizen campaign to measure pesticide residues in local residents. Residents are invited to collect samples on their windows to measure the presence of 30 pesticides in the laboratory.

Pendimethalin has been included in the list of phytosanitary products sought because it is one of the most widely used herbicides in France. Between 2009 and 2017, the quantities of pendimethalin sold have continued to increase, rising from 670 to 1350 tonnes to reach more than 1370 tonnes in 2019 according to the BNVD (Banque Nationale de Ventes de produits phytosanitaires par les Distributeurs agrées).


"With 1370 tonnes sold in 2019, pendimethanline is one of the most widely used herbicides on crops"

Pendimethalin (CAS 40487-42-1) is a herbicidal active substance marketed in the European Union for preparations not exceeding 900 g/kg and marketed under the names :

  •     ADIRPEN
  •     AKTON
  •     AMON EV
  •     APA
  •     ARADON
  •     ARIZONA
  •     ATIC AQUA
  •     BAROUD SC
  •     BASALTE
  •     BELOGA
  •     BISMARK
  •     BOUL'HERB
  •     CANI AQUA
  •     CELTIC
  •     CERAMIC
  •     CETALINE
  •     CODIX
  •     CURACAO +
  •     DAKOTA
  •     DIPEN
  •     DIPENKLO
  •     FLIGHT
  •     FLUPEN
  •     FORKA
  •     INDIANA
  •     IPON
  •     KORYLIA EC
  •     LEGACY PRO
  •     LEONIS DUO
  •     MALYAN
  •     MEGAPLUS
  •     MELKIOR
  •     MERKUR
  •     NACARAT
  •     NIRVANA
  •     OKLAHOMA
  •     PENDAQUA
  •     PENDIFIN
  •     PENDIFLU
  •     PENDIRON
  •     PEND-IT
  •     PENDITEC
  •     PENDULUM
  •     PENOR
  •     PENTAGON
  •     PENTIUM
  •     PERMIX
  •     PROWL
  •     SERENIUM
  •     SHARPEN
  •     STENTOR
  •     STOMP
  •     STRATEGE
  •     TRAPAN
  •     TREPLIK
  •     TRINITY
  •     TRIPLET
  •     TROOPER
  •     VULKAN
  •     WING



In 2014, pendimethalin was mainly used on wheat, barley, rape and maize.

Pendimethalin is not authorised for biocidal (domestic and professional uses outside agriculture) or veterinary applications. The presence of pendimethalin in the environment is therefore exclusively related to agricultural activities.

According to AASQA data, pendimethalin was measured in 1171 ambient air samples and was measured in 75% of the samples.

"Pendimethalin is present in 3 out of 4 air samples in 2019

Maximum concentrations of pendimethalin were measured in Charente-Maritime (Commune de Montroy, ATMO NOUVELLE-AQUITAINE, 11.31 ng/m3), Meurthe-et-Moselle (Commune de Villers-Les-Nancy, ATMO GRAND EST, 8.50 and 8.05 ng/m3) and Indre-et-Loire (Commune de Tours, LIGAIR, 7.74 ng/m3).

According to the University of Hertfordshire, it is considered persistent in soils (half-life of 100 to 182 days) and is mainly transformed into 2-methyl-3,5-dinitro-4-(pentan-3-ylamino)benzoic acid and 4,5-dimethyl-3-nitro-N-(pentan-3-yl)benzene1,2-diamine

"Pendimethalin persists for a long time in the environment

ECHA states that pendimethalin is highly toxic to the aquatic environment and for a very long time after the pollution event due to its persistence.

Considered moderately toxic to humans, its daily dose has been set at 0.125 mg/kg body weight per day (i.e. 8.75 mg for a 70 kg adult).

It produces reproductive and developmental effects and exposure to pendimethalin can cause eye, skin and respiratory tract irritation.

The US EPA has classified pendimethalin as a possible carcinogen.

Several studies have shown that pendimethalin has endocrine disrupting properties on reproductive functions and developmental processes. This herbicide would therefore have effects on human hormonal function at low doses of exposure. Pregnant or breastfeeding women and young children are particularly sensitive to endocrine disruptors.

Generations Futures/YOOTEST Campaign

EXPORIP: 1st national campaign to study agricultural pesticide drift. Test conducted in laboratory.
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EXPORIP MAP Générations Futures / YOOTEST

Discover the sampling locations and results of the EXPORIP campaign
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