Linking land use with pesticides in Dutch surface waters

M T Van't Zelfde, W L M Tamis, M G Vijver, G. R. de Snoo

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientific


Compared with other European countries The Netherlands has a relatively high level of pesticide consumption, particularly in agriculture. Many of the compounds concerned end up in surface waters. Surface water quality is routinely monitored and numerous pesticides are found to be present in high concentrations, with various standards being regularly exceeded. Many standards-breaching pesticides exhibit regional patterns that can be traced back to land use. These patterns have been statistically analysed by correlating surface area per land use category with standards exceedance per pesticide, thereby identifying numerous significant correlations with respect to breaches of both the ecotoxicological standard (Maximum Tolerable Risk, MTR) and the drinking water standard. In the case of the MTR, greenhouse horticulture, floriculture and bulb-growing have the highest number as well as percentage of standard-breaching pesticides, despite these market segments being relatively small in terms of area cropped. Cereals, onions, vegetables, perennial border plants and pulses are also associated with many pesticides that exceed the drinking water standard. When a correction is made for cropped acreage, cereals and potatoes also prove to be a major contributor to monitoring sites where the MTR standard is exceeded. Over the period 1998-2006 the land-use categories with the most and highest percentage of standards-exceeding pesticides (greenhouse horticulture, bulb-growing and flower cultivation) showed an increase in the percentage of standards-exceeding compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-14
Number of pages8
JournalCommunications in agricultural and applied biological sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Agriculture
  • Drinking Water/standards
  • Ecotoxicology/standards
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Netherlands
  • Pesticides/analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Seasons
  • Water Quality


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