Health Impact of the Indiscriminate use of Herbicides in Nigeria

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.05.01.Art004

Authors : Oche JosephOtorkpa, Oche JosephOtorkpa


The health impact of the indiscriminate use of herbicides in Nigeria is a public health concern. randomly selected food crops were found to be contaminated with residues of herbicides such as 2, 4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2, 4-D) at 0.59mg/kg beyond maximum residue limits of 0.1mg/kg, while residues appear to persist in the soil at very high concentration of 0.180 and 0.023 mg/kg for atrazine and paraquat respectively, therefore increasing the risk of surface and ground water contamination with potentially lethal consequences on humans, livestock, and the environment. There is high prevalence of disregard for safety measures amongst horticultural farmers, (42%) of them do not use any form of protective wear during application of herbicides. Despite the establishment of links between the most commonly used herbicides in the country and certain forms of cancer, the sales of herbicide is still controlled mainly by semi-literate traders in open markets which appears to be contributing significantly to the level of pollution in the country. Based on the weight of evidence analyzed, the haphazard nature of the agrochemicals market and the indiscriminate use of herbicides in Nigeria cannot be completely extricated from the increasing rate of cancer in the country.
Keywords: Herbicides, Indiscriminate, Contamination, Health, Impact


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