Presence Of Three Pesticides In Rural Drinking Water Sources In Kenya.
Mwanthi, M. A
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A cross-sectional study on the use of three pesticides and their presence in drinking water sources was conducted in Githunguri/Kiaria community between January 1994-March 1995. The main objective of the study was to determine the extent to which some of the pesticides used by the Githunguri/Kiaria agricultural community were polluting their drinking water sources. Due to monetary and physical limitations, only DDT, its isomers and metabolites, carbofuran and carbaryl pesticides were identified and used as surrogates of pollution for the other pesticides.^ The study area was divided into high and low lying geographic surface areas. Thirty-four and 38 water sampling sites were randomly selected respectively. During wet and dry seasons, a total of 144 water samples were collected and analyzed at the Kenya Bureau of Standards Laboratory in Nairobi. Gas chromatography was used to analyze samples for possible presence of DDT, its isomers and metabolites, while high pressure liquid chromatography was used to analyze samples for carbofuran and carbaryl pesticides.^ Six sites testing positively for DDT, its isomers and metabolites represented 19.4% of the total sampled sites, with a mean concentration of 0.00310 ppb in the dry season and 0.0130 ppb in the wet season. All the six sites testing positively for the same pesticide exceeded the European maximum contaminant limit (MCL) in the wet season, and only one site exceeded the European MCL in the dry season.^ Those sites testing positively for carbofuran and carbaryl represented 5.6% of the total sampled sites. The mean concentration for the carbofuran at the sites was 2.500 ppb and 1.590 ppb in the dry and wet seasons respectively. Similarly, the mean concentration for carbaryl at the sites was 0.281 ppb in the dry season and 0.326 ppb in the wet season.^ One site testing positively for carbofuran exceeded the European MCL and WHO set limit in the wet season, while one site testing positively for the same pesticide exceeded the USA, Canada, European and WHO MCLs in the dry season. Similarly, one site which tested positively for carbaryl pesticide exceeded the European MCL in both seasons.^ Out of the 2,587 community members in the study area, 333 (13%) were exposed through their drinking water sources to the three pesticides investigated by this study. As a public health measure, integrated pest management approaches (IPM), protection of the wells and education of the community is necessary to minimize the pollution of the environment and safeguard the drinking water sources from pollution by the pesticides.