Pesticide Dietary Risks

M2M has compiled an extensive dataset on pesticide residues in food. These data, coupled with the Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment of chronic pesticide toxicity, are used to quantify relative pesticide dietary risks in different foods, in domestically produced food in contrast to imports, and in conventional versus organic food.

Report - PDP cover

USDA’s Pesticide Data Program publishes data on pesticide residues.

Dietary risks are measured using two forms of a “Dietary Risk Index,” or DRI. The “DRI-Mean” (DRI-M) is based on average residue levels in samples containing residues. The “Food Supply DRI” (FS-DRI) takes into account the frequency of residues across multiple samples of a given food:

  • The DRI-M index is appropriate when quantifying risks in samples known to have been treated by and contain residues of pesticide X.
  • The FS-DRI reflects average residue and risk levels for a given food, across many samples of the food, including those samples with and without detectable residues.

M2M’s Dietary Risk Index Analytical System evaluates the impact of the FQPA.

The FS-DRI is recommended for establishing baselines and tracking changes in the chronic risks posed by pesticides in foods and beverages. This metric incorporates the frequency of residues in a given food, the mean level of positive samples, the chronic toxicity of each pesticide as determined by the EPA, and the quantity of food typically consumed in a day by a person of known size.

See the Pesticide Dietary Risk Analytical System for further methodological details and access to a series of tables tracking relative pesticide risk levels.