Determination of dichlorvos residue levels in vegetables sold in Lusaka, Zambia
INTRODUCTION Small scale and large scale farmers around Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia grow vegetables using intensive agriculture methods to satisfy the ever increasing demand. To ensure maximum yield they apply various types of pesticides to control pests and diseases that attack these vegetables. Organophosphate pesticides are widely used in agriculture for the control of various insect pests mainly in developing countries. The purpose of the study was to determine the residual levels of the most commonly used organophosphate, 2, 2-Dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate, in three commonestvegetables supplied at various markets around Lusaka. METHODS Samples of 9 bunches of rape, 14 bunches lettuce and 15 rolls cabbage were randomly picked from several study sites around Lusaka. The vegetables were chopped into small pieces which were chemically treated to get methanol extracts. The extracts were then dissolved in an appropriate solvent and using Shimadzu High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Ultra-violet detector (HPLC-UV) levels of 2, 2-Dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate were determined. RESULTS The analysis showed that the average levels of dichlorvos were significantly above the maximum accepted limit as set by Zambian Food and Drugs Act on vegetables. CONCLUSION Locally grown vegetables from around Lusaka have higher than maximum acceptable limits. This may have implications on human health as the cumulative effect of organophosphates in human body has potential to cause long term health problems.