Pesticide dependence and associated risks in Uruguayan agriculture

limitations in its approach




ecotoxicology, toxicology, environmental fate


Pesticides have become an essential input for agriculture in the last decades. However, the growing concern about the potential impact produced by such dependency on human health and the environmental level has led to strong questionings about the use of pesticides worldwide. This paper aims to analyze the use of pesticides in Uruguay's agriculture and their potential risks with an emphasis on ecotoxicological risks. For such purposes, data on imports and use of pesticides in Uruguay and some other agricultural regions corresponding to the last two decades (2000-2020) were collected. In addition, information on the risks associated with the use of different pesticides compiled in the Pesticide Properties Database of the University of Hertfordshire was reviewed, as well as information generated by related national and international research. The information collected indicates high intensity usage of pesticides in Uruguayan agriculture and uncertainties in relation to environmental risks that may arise from the current forms of use.


Download data is not yet available.


Alengebawy A, Abdelkhalek ST, Qureshi SR, Wang MQ. Heavy metals and pesticides toxicity in agricultural soil and plants: ecological risks and human health implications. Toxics. 2021;9(3):42. Doi: 10.3390/toxics9030042.

Alonso B, Griffero L, Bentos Pereira H, Pareja L, Pérez Parada A. Determination of glyphosate and AMPA in freshwater and soil from agroecosystems by 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl chloride derivatization and liquid chromatography - fluorescence detection and tandem mass spectrometry. MethodsX. 2022;9:101730. Doi: 10.1016/j.mex.2022.101730.

Bakker L, Van Der Werf W, Tittonell P, Wyckhuys KAG, Bianchi FJJA. Neonicotinoids in globalagriculture: evidence for a new pesticide treadmill? Ecol Soc. 2020;25:26. Doi: 10.5751/ES-11814-250326.

Balbuena S, Castelli L, Zunino P, Antúnez K. Effect of chronic exposure to sublethal doses of imidacloprid and nosema ceranae on immunity, gut microbiota, and survival of africanized honey bees. Microb Ecol. 2023;85(4):1485-97. Doi: 10.1007/s00248-022-02014-8.

Benamú M, Lacava M, García LF, Santana M, Fang J, Wang X, Blamires SJ. Nanoestructural and mechanical property changes to spider silk as a consequence of insecticide exposure. Chemosphere. 2017;181:241-9.

Benamú MA, Schneider MI, González A, Sánchez NE. Short and long-term effects of three neurotoxic insecticides on biological and behavioral attributes of the orb-web spider Alpaida veniliae (Araneae, Araneidae): implications for IPM programs. Ecotoxicology. 2013;22(7):1155-64.

Besil N, Hladki R, Rivero F,Cesio MV, Heinzen H. Pesticide residues in rainwater from the northwest region of Uruguay: method validation and seasonal analysis. In: 14th International IUPAC Congress on Crop Protection and 71st International Symposium on Crop Protection; 2019 May 19-24; Ghent, Belgium. [place unknown: publisher unknown]; 2019. p. 35.

Bopp SK, Kienzler A, Richarz AN, van der Linden SC, Paini A, Parissis N, Worth AP. Regulatory assessment and risk management of chemical mixtures: challenges and ways forward. Crit Rev Toxicol. 2019;49(2):174-89.

Bueno AF, Bueno RCOF, Parra JRP, Vieira SS. Effects of pesticides used in soybean crops to the egg parasitoid Trichogramma pretiosum. Ciênc Rural. 2008;38(6):1495-503.

Burger M, Pose Román D. Plaguicidas salud y ambiente: experiencia en Uruguay. Montevideo: Universidad de la República; 2012. 369p.

Cárcamo MI. Los Plaguicidas Altamente Peligrosos (PAP) en Uruguay [Internet]. [place unknown]: IPEN; 2020 [cited 2023 May 15]. 97p. Available from:

Carles C, Bouvier G, Lebailly P, BaldiI. Use of job-exposure matrices to estimate occupation al exposure to pesticides: are view. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2017;27(2):125-40.

Castelli L, Balbuena S, Branchiccela B, Zunino P, Liberti J, Engel P, Antúnez K. Impact of chronic exposure to sublethal doses of glyphosate on honey bee immunity, gut microbiota and infection by pathogens. Microorganisms. 2021;9(4):845. Doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9040845.

Colazzo M, Pareja L, Cesio V, Heinzen H. Multi-residue method for trace pesticide analysis in soils by LC-QQQ-MS/MS and its application to real samples. Int J Environ Anal Chem.2018;98(14):1292-308.

Dake RB, Bhamare VK, Kapare RB. Effect of Bio-Rational insecticides on Lady Bird beetles of sunflower ecosystem. Bull Env Pharmacol Life Sci. 2017;6(2):74-6.

Ernst F, Alonso B, Colazzo M, Pareja L, Cesio V, Pereira A, Pérez-Parada A. Occurrence of pesticide residues in fish from south American rainfed agroecosystems. Sci Total Environ. 2018;631-632:169-79. Doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.02.320.

FAO. FAOSTAT [Internet]. [place unknown]: FAO; 2023 [cited 2023May15]. Available from:

Fenik J, Tankiewicz M, Biziuk M. Properties and determination of pesticides in fruits and vegetables. TrAC Trends Anal Chem. 2011;30:814-26.

Figueredo S, Guibert M, Arbeletche P. Ciclo sojero y estraegias de los actors de la producción agropecuaria en el litoral uruguayo. Eutopía. 2019;(16):99-110. Doi: 10.17141/eutopia.16.2019.4103.

Heinzen J, Rodríguez N. Procesos destructores para la salud vinculados a la manipulación de agroquímicos en trabajadores agrícolas de Young, Uruguay. Cien Trab. 2016;18(56):117-23.

Highly hazardous pesticides [Internet]. [place unknown]: PAHO; 2019 [cited 2023 May15]. Available from:

Hu Z. What socio-economic and political factors lead to global pesticide dependence? a critical review from a social science perspective. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(21):8119. Doi: 10.3390/ijerph17218119.

International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management:guidelines on highly hazardous pesticides [Internet]. Rome: FAO; 2016 [cited 2023 May15]. 28p. Available from:

Jacobsen CS, Hjelmsø MH.Agricultural soils, pesticides and microbial diversity. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2014;27:15-20. Doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2013.09.003.

Jorge-Escudero G, Pérez Polanco M, Lagerlöf JE, Pérez CA, Míguez D. Commercial fungicide toxic effects on terrestrial non-target species might be underestimated when based solely on active ingredient toxicity and standard earthworm tests. Toxics. 2022;10(9):488. Doi: 10.3390/toxics10090488.

Keulemans W, Bylemans D, De Coninck B. Farming without plant protection products: Can we grow without using herbicides, fungicides and insecticides? [place unknown]: European Parliamentary Research Service; 2019. 44p. Doi: 10.2861/05433.

Laborde A, Tomasina F, Bianchi F, Bruné MN, Buka I, Comba P, Corra L, Cori L, Duffert CM, Harari R, Iavarone I, McDiarmid MA, Gray KA, Sly PD, Soares A, Suk WA, Landrigan PJ. Children's health in Latin America: the influence of environmental exposures. Environ Health Perspect. 2015;123(3):201-9. Doi: 10.1289/ehp.1408292.

Lacava M, García LF, Viera C, Michalko R. The pest-specific effects of glyphosate on functional response of a wolf spider. Chemosphere. 2021;262:127785. Doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.127785.

Li Z, Jennings A. Worldwide regulations of standard values of pesticides for human health risk control: a review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017;14(7):826. Doi: 10.3390/ijerph14070826.

Michel C, Baran N, André L, Charron M, Joulian C. Side effects of pesticides and metabolites in groundwater: impact on denitrification. Front Microbiol. 2021;12:662727. Doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.662727.

Ministerio de Ganadería, Agricultura y Pesca, DGSA (UY). Consulta de productos fitosanitarios[Internet]. Montevideo: MGAP; 2022[cited 2023 May 15]. Available from:

Ministerio de Ganadería, Agricultura y Pesca, DGSA (UY). Registro y renovación de productos fitosanitarios (Plaguicidas Agrícolas) [Internet]. Montevideo: MGAP; 2023[cited 2023 May 15]. Available from:

Moss S. Integrated weed management (IWM): why are farmers reluctant to adopt non-chemical alternatives to herbicides? Pest Manag Sci. 2019;75(5):1205-11.

Murcia-Morales M, Heinzen H, Parrilla-Vázquez P, Gómez-Ramos MDM, Fernández-Alba AR.Presence and distribution of pesticides in apicultural products: a critical appraisal.TrAC Trends Anal Chem.2022,146:116506. Doi: 10.1016/j.trac.2021.116506.

Niell S, Jesús F, Pérez C, Mendoza Y, Díaz R, Franco J, Cesio V, Heinzen H. QuEChERS adaptability for the analysis of pesticide residues in beehive products seeking the development of an agroecosystem sustainability monitor. J Agric Food Chem. 2015;63(18):4484-92. Doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.5b00795.

Niell S, Jesús F, Pérez N, Pérez C, Pareja L, Abbate S, Carrasco-Letelier L, Díaz S, Mendoza Y, Cesio V, Heinzen H. Neonicotinoids transference from the field to the hive by honey bees: towards a pesticide residues biomonitor. Sci Total Environ. 2017;581-582:25-31.

Ntzani EE, Chondrogiorgi M, Ntritsos G, Evangelou E, Tzoulaki I. Literature review on epidemiological studies linking exposure to pesticides and health effects. EFSA Support Publ. 2013;10(10):497E. Doi: 10.2903/sp.efsa.2013.EN-497.

Oerke E. Crop losses to pests. JAgric Sci. 2006;144(1):31-43.

Palladino C, Puigvert F, Muela A, Taborda B, Pérez CA, Pérez-Parada A, Pareja L. Evaluation of Fusarium mycotoxins and fungicide residues in barley grain produced in Uruguay. J Agric Food Res.2021;3:100092. Doi: 10.1016/j.jafr.2020.100092.

PAN International consolidated the list of banned pesticides [Internet]. [place unknown]: PAN; 2022 [cited 2023 May15]. Available from:

Pareja L, Colazzo M, Pérez-Parada A, Besil N, Heinzen H, Böcking B, Cesio V, Fernández-Alba AR. Occurrence and distribution study of residues from pesticides applied under controlled conditions in the field during rice processing. J Agric Food Chem.2012;60(18):4440-8.

Pareja L, Colazzo M, Pérez-Parada A, Niell S, Carrasco-Letelier L, Besil N, Cesio MV, Heinzen H. Detection of pesticides in active and depopulated beehives in Uruguay. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011;8(10):3844-58. Doi: 10.3390/ijerph8103844.

Pareja L, Martínez-Bueno MJ, Cesio V, Heinzen H, Fernández-Alba AR. Trace analysis of pesticides in paddy field water by direct injection using liquid chromatography-quadrupole-linear ion trap-mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr A. 2011;1218(30):4790-8. Doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2011.02.044.

Pesticides use, pesticides trade and pesticides indicators:global, regional and country trends, 1990–2020. Rome: FAO; 2022. 13p. (FAOSTAT Analytical Brief; 46). Doi: 10.4060/cc0918en.

Planes de monitoreo: Informes Comite Cientifico: Subprograma 1: Monitoreo de la calidad de agua, sedimento y biota en el río Uruguay elaborados por el Comité Científico [Internet]. Paysandú: Caru; 2023 [cited 2023 May 15]. Available from:

Porrini MP, Garrido PM, Umpiérrez ML, Porrini LP, Cuniolo A, Davyt B, González A, Eguaras MJ, Rossini C. Effects of synthetic acaricides andnosema ceranae(Microsporidia: Nosematidae) on molecules associated with chemical communication and recognition in honey bees. Vet Sci. 2020;7(4):199. Doi: 10.3390/vetsci7040199.

PPDB: Pesticide Properties Database [Internet]. Hatfield:University of Hertfordshire;2020 [cited 2023 May 15]. Available from:

Primost JE, Marino DJG, Aparicio VC, Costa JL, Carriquiriborde P. Glyphosate and AMPA, "pseudo-persistent" pollutants under real-world agricultural management practices in the Mesopotamic Pampas agroecosystem, Argentina. Environ Pollut. 2017;229:771-9. Doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.06.006.

Rani L, Thapa K, Kanojia N, Sharma N, Singh S, Grewal AS, Srivastav AL, Kaushal J. An extensive reviewon the consequences of chemical pesticides on human health and environment. J Clean Prod. 2020;283:124657. Doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.124657.

República Oriental del Uruguay, Ministerio de Ganadería, Agricultura y Pesca. Requisitos para la inscripción en el Registro Único de Operadores (RUO). Resolución Nº 959/022 [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 May 15]. Available from:

Ríos-González A, Jansen K, Sánchez-Pérez HJ. Pesticide risk perceptions and the di_erences between farmers and extensionists: towards a knowledge-in-context model. Environ Res. 2013;124:43-53.

Rodríguez N, Heinzen J. Producciones desentido en torno a la exposición a agroquímicos:el caso de la ciudad de Young. INNOTEC. 2017;13:115-24.

Rutgers M, Schouten AJ, Bloem J, Van Eekeren N, De Goede RGM, Jagersop Akkerhuis GAJM, Breure AM. Biological measurements in a nationwide soil monitoring network. Eur J Soil Sci. 2009;60(5):820-32.

Sharma A, Shukla A, Attri K, Kumar M, Kumar P, Suttee A, Singh G, Barnwal RP, Singla N. Global trends in pesticides: a looming threat and viable alternatives. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2020;201:110812. Doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2020.110812.

Strassemeyer J, Daehmlow D, Dominic A, Lorenz S, Golla B. SYNOPS-WEB, an online tool for environmental risk assessment to evaluate pesticide strategies on field level. Crop Prot.2017;97:28-44.

Tariq SR, Nisar L. Reductive transformation of profenofos with nanoscale Fe/Ni particles. Environ Monit Assess. 2018;190(3):123. Doi: 10.1007/s10661-018-6500-2.

Topping CJ, Aldrich A, Berny P. Overhaul environmental risk assessment for pesticides.Science. 2020;367(6476):360-3.

Vryzas Z, Ramwell C, Sans C. Pesticide prioritization approaches and limitations in environmental monitoring studies: from Europe to Latin America and the Caribbean. Environ Int. 2020;143:105917. Doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2020.105917.

Wu L, Chládková B, Lechtenfeld OJ, Lian S, Schindelka J, Herrmann H, Richnow HH. Characterizing chemical transformation of organophosphorus compounds by 13C and 2H stable isotope analysis. Sci Total Environ. 2018;615:20-8. Doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.233.

Zhang Z, Yan X, Jones K, Jiao C, Liu Y, Zhu Y, Zhang Q, Zhai L, Shen Z, Chen L. Pesticide risk constraints to achieving Sustainable Development Goals in China based on national modeling. NPJ Clean Water. 2022;5:59. Doi: 10.1038/s41545-022-00202-0.

Zúñiga-Venegas LA, Hyland C, Muñoz-Quezada MT, Quirós-Alcalá L, Butinof M, Buralli R, Cardenas A, Fernandez RA, Foerster C, Gouveia N, Gutiérrez Jara JP, Lucero BA, Muñoz MP, Ramírez-Santana M, Smith AR, Tirado N, van Wendel de Joode B, Calaf GM, Handal AJ, Soares da Silva A, Cortés S, Mora AM. Health effects of pesticide exposure in Latin American and the Caribbean Populations: a scoping review. Environ Health Perspect. 2022;130(9):96002. Doi: 10.1289/EHP9934.



How to Cite

Palladino C, García I, Fernández G. Pesticide dependence and associated risks in Uruguayan agriculture: limitations in its approach. Agrocienc Urug [Internet]. 2023 May 23 [cited 2024 Jun. 15];27:e1156. Available from:



Plant protection
QR Code


Article metrics
Abstract views
Galley vies
PDF Views
HTML views
Other views

Most read articles by the same author(s)