Fig. 1., photo: the use of pesticides in Ukraine has dropped down in the ninetieth but is increasing again since 10 years
Another source of pollution (beside nitrate pollution) is the use of pesticides (as for example chlororganic insecticides)
in and around villages. Pesticides are not only used for agriculture (
hop and potato fields etc.), but also in private gardens. Sometimes,
they are not used or the use is limited because of the low income
of rural families.
Fig. 2: Pesticide use is higher than in Soviet times
choice is mainly a question of money. Private use is focused on the
Colorado beetle. If there are no measures taken against this insect, it
will destroy a potato garden within a few days. This beetle has
appeared in huge quantities especially during the last two years. It can be found even in Kiev!
For the here described investigation it turned out to be difficult to find enough "clean" private gardens (not contaminated with pesticides) for comparison (variant "no use" in fig. 3).
a comparison of three different types of sampling places (average
values): private gardens (actually no use of pesticides but possibly in
former times), potato fields and hop fields. Abbreviations: HCH: HCH-isomers, DDT: DDT and its derivatives, other: sum of other chlorinated insecticides as listed in figure 5.
Hop fields are concentrated in a bigger area some 100 km west of the Chernobyl reactor (R in fig. 4).
Figure 4 shows the position of the investigation area around Luginy (L)
use of DDT was still common in hop fields a few years ago. During the
first years of independence of the Ukraine, there was still an official
exception from the former ban of DDT for those fields. Newer
information is not easily available. Soils containing more than 100 ug
chlorinated pesticides (sum) in 1 kg dry weight must be considered as
polluted (following Leidraad bodemsanierung, 1984).
pesticides in their own garden should be aware that pesticide products
pose a thread to human health. It is known that they cause various
types of illness as for example cancer, dysfunction of the immune
system, and neurological disruptions. Further consequences are genetic,
reproductive and birth defects. Therefore it is recommended here to use methods of biological agriculture as far and as soon as possible, and to diminish the spread of pesticides to a minimum of such substances which do not infiltrate
The health risk of use and accumulation of pesticides in the human body is further increased by the synchronous effect of nitrate and also of radioactivity (radon a.o.) in drinking water in the area west of Chernobyl !
The figure 5
above shows averages of the most important pesticides in the water of
village wells, also in the region Luginy, 120 km west of the Chernobyl
reactor given in ug/L. Methodological details are described in
max. permissible concentration for drinking water following the EC
guidelines is 0,1 ug/L for each substance and 0,5 ug/L for the sum of
There is a lot of literature available dealing with toxicity of pesticides in drinking water. The 1st publication listed below is only one example recommended to get an overview over the problem of risk assessments.
news from Rachel's Democracy Health News #862 (www.rachel.org):
"Pesticides Linked to 70% Increased Risks for Parkinson's Disease A new
study reconfirms earlier findings, that pesticide exposure is linked to
Parkinson's disease. "
of Drinking Water, Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (19990): Risk Assessment, Management and Communication of
Drinking Water Contamination. - Seminar Publication EPA/625-4-89/024
EPA's Office of Pesticides Program
The Extension TOXicology NETwork - EXTOXNET
Pesticides Action Network - Pesticide Database
UNEP GEMS Water program
(back to part 1 nitrate)