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Maximum residual levels of pesticides and public health: best friends or faux amis?

Abstract : The purpose of this article is to analyse the relation between public health and the regulations of Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) of pesticides. Many authors underline the role of trade protectionism in fixing these limits whereas these regulations should be intended for public health protection. We first establish the link between the MRL for a given chemical in plant products and its level of toxicity. In order to perform this analysis we cross the FAS USDA MRL database and the classification of the long term toxicological effects (LTE) for active substances provided by SAgE pesticide. We then compute a synthetic and polyvalent tool namely "Health Score" which provides a first overview of the link between LTE and MRL by country. Then this score is regressed in a logit model in order to identify the relationship between the countries' Health Score and the socio-economic and political characteristics of such areas. Results highlight the importance of public health expenditures in determining the settings of MRL towards stricter levels.
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Myriam Carrère, Federica Demaria, Sophie Drogue. Maximum residual levels of pesticides and public health: best friends or faux amis?. Agricultural Economics, Wiley, 2018, 49 (1), pp.111-118. ⟨10.1111/agec.12399⟩. ⟨hal-02628634⟩

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