J Agric Med Community Health.  2011 Dec;36(4):218-226.

The Possibility of Environmental Paraquat Exposure

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Gangneung Asan Hospital, Ulsan University, Korea.
  • 2Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health, Kwandong University, Korea.
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Kwandong University, Korea. songjs@kd.ac.kr


OBJECTIVES: Paraquat (PQ) is a widely used ionic pesticide that is fatal when ingested accidentally or for suicidal purposes. It is thought that chronic exposure of PQ is related with the development of Parkinson's disease, but epidemiological studies have not yet confirmed that theory. This study attempted to estimate the possibility of environmental PQ exposure through soil and water.
We analyzed the amount of decomposed PQ solution in wet soil after exposure to ultraviolet light. An artificial rainfall condition was simulated over soil sprayed with PQ to measure the amount of eluted PQ. In addition, PQ was diluted in water from three differently rated rivers and the changes in PQ concentration were measured after ultraviolet exposure over one month. High performance liquid chromatography/ultra violet detection was used to analyze the concentrations of PQ.
In the method we used, the recovery rate of PQ showed a precision rate less than 5%, an accuracy greater than 88%, and the calibration equation was y=5538.8x-440.01(R2=0.9985). There were no significant differences in the concentrations of PQ obtained from the three specimens over a 1-week period. From the PQ-sprayed soil, the artificial rainfall conditions showed no PQ elution over a 1-month period, and there was no significant differences in PQ concentrations according to ultraviolet exposure among the three samples.
PQ remains well adsorbed naturally in soil. However, it may still exist in an integrated state for a long time in the hydrosphere, so the possibility of PQ exposure through drinking water cannot be disqualified.


Paraquat; Environmental exposure; Parkinson's disease; UV
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