Pesticide residues in foodstuffs are considered a world wide problem because of their impact on human health; therefore, different studies have been conducted in this field. The results of these studies often do not confirm that harmful effects on human health do occur.
In the UAE there is little information about this vital problem, as a result, this study was designed to add some data to enable more detailed and wide ranging, monitoring and continuous studies.
The survey on pesticide residues, in this study, was concerned only with two vegetables (tomato & cucumber) and five pesticides, which are commonly used in plant protection programs (Dimethoate, Chlorpyrifos, Metalaxyl, Diazinon and Chlorothalonil). This study found that there were only rare instances of pesticide residues detected which were above the acceptable safety limits. This may be due to good agricultural practice and assisted by the high environmental temperatures, which assist with the natural decomposition of pesticides in the field.
On the other hand, collection of information on the level of public concern about this issue, indicated that, there is, to some extent, concern in the community about these issues.
This level of concern seemed to differ between male and female respondents and also between national and non-nationals in the UAE.
Therefore, this study considered the first thesis, which has been conducted to evaluate the presence of pesticide residues and their related public issues in the UAE.
As a result of these studies, the following recommendations are made.
In order to raise the public interest, condensed and simple scientifically based print, TV or radio programs should be produced to illustrate the benefits and hazards of using pesticides in plant protection programs, and how the user of pesticides may take care to prevent environmental pollution and to promote the safe use of pesticides.
A cooperative advertising program should be organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and different agricultural departments within the United Arab Emirates, to promote a balanced view on the uses and benefits of pesticides to the community.
The results of these studies indicated that, no serious cases of pesticide contamination were detected in the foodstuffs under investigation. However, as there is no scientific research center for follow up programs for monitoring pesticide residues in the UAE, a recommendation can be made to establish a center of this type, to provide routine monitoring of the produce available to the public in this nation.
As it will take some time to establish such a center, in the meantime, short cooperative studies designed to regularly monitor pesticide residue levels in foodstuffs should be conducted. These studies should be expanded to include a wider range of fruit and vegetables and also to include a wider range of pesticides. Such work can be done with the cooperation of:
- The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
- Food Quality Labs in each emirate.
- The Environment Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA).
- The Federal Environmental Agency (FEA).