Breakdown Products (Metabolites) from Pesticides May Be More Toxic than Parent Compound, Study Finds

May 6, 2021 | Nearly half of all breakdown products (transformation products) from four common-use pesticides produce stronger endocrine (hormone) disrupting (ED) effects than the parent compound, according to research published in Environment International. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts—from chemicals in plastics to cosmetic/personal care products—are commonly present in waterbodies, food commodities, and human blood/urine samples. These toxicants can alter hormone metabolism, producing endocrine-disrupting effects that put the health of animals, humans, and the environment at risk. Many ecological and health risk assessments for pesticides focus on the effects of parent chemical compound products, overlooking the potential impacts of transformation products (TPs). The researchers note, “Since an increasing number of pesticide TPs have been detected in various environmental media, a more comprehensive understanding of the ecological risk of pesticide TPs is imperative for risk assessments more extensively and regulatory policymaking on pesticide restriction in the future.” [Ji, Chenyang et al. The potential endocrine disruption of pesticide trans- formation products (TPs): The blind spot of pesticide risk assessment, Environment International. 137:1054901, 2020.]