United States
EPA 822 F 17 001
xv EPA Environmental Protection
Agency	January 2017
Fact Sheet: Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides
2017 Update
EPA has updated its Human Health
Benchmarks for Pesticides (HHBPs) in
drinking water to reflect the latest scientific
information. HHBPs are levels of certain food
use pesticides in water at or below which
adverse health effects are not anticipated from
one-day or lifetime exposures.
A total of 394 HHBPs are now available for
pesticides that are currently registered for use
on food crops or could result in exposure
through food or drinking water. The
benchmarks are for pesticides for which the
agency has not issued a drinking water health
advisory or set an enforceable federal
drinking water standard.
EPA first developed the human health
benchmarks for pesticides in 2012 to enable
states, tribes, water systems, public and other
stakeholders to better determine whether the
detection of a pesticide in drinking water or
source waters for drinking water may indicate
a potential health risk. The human health
benchmarks for pesticides were developed
with the same methods used by the Agency to
calculate health advisories for drinking water
and are based on data that were peer-reviewed
in EPA's pesticide registration process. In
2013, benchmarks for 11 new pesticides were
added and benchmarks for 40 pesticides were
revised with added cancer information.
All benchmarks were calculated with updated
exposure (body weight and drinking water
intake) assumptions. Three pesticides
previously listed in the table were removed
due to updated exposure pattern information
demonstrating that these pesticides are no
longer used on food (d-Allethrin, S-
Bioallethrin, and Bioallethrin). It should be
noted that the data supporting these
benchmarks have been previously published
in EPA pesticide risk assessments available
on the web at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides.
In March 2010, EPA announced a drinking
water strategy that outlined four principles to
expand public health protection. One of these
principles is to use the authority of multiple
statutes to more effectively protect drinking
water by sharing data collected under
different statutes. EPA derived the HHBPs by
applying the health effects data from pesticide
registrations under the Federal Insecticide,
Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and
tolerances under the Federal Food, Drug, and
Cosmetic Act as amended by the Food
Quality Protection Act (FQPA) to the typical
methods used for developing drinking water
health advisories under the Safe Drinking
Water Act.
EPA is providing the HHBPs for
informational purposes for use by states,
water systems and the public to help
understand monitoring data for pesticides that
have no drinking water standards or health
advisories. Drinking water systems can also
use them as reference values to respond to
customer inquiries if pesticides are detected
through monitoring.
Development of Human Health Benchmarks
for Pesticides in Drinking Water
The 2017 HHBPs were derived for non-
cancer and cancer health endpoints.
For non-cancer effects, the HHBPs were
established for acute and chronic effects. EPA

used the acute and chronic reference doses
(RfDs) established for the most sensitive life
stage/population. EPA updated and applied
body weight and drinking water intake
assumptions used to calculate the benchmarks
based on National Health and Nutrition
Examination Survey (NHANES) and
Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by
Individuals (CSFII) data.
For the acute HHBPs, the entire exposure is
assumed to occur from drinking water.
For the chronic HHBPs, EPA applied a
default relative drinking water source
contribution of 20 percent. This assumes that
20 percent of exposure to a given pesticide is
from water and additional exposure is derived
from other source such as food, air or dermal
For pesticide registrations under FIFRA, EPA
derives acute or chronic population adjusted
doses (PADs) using an FQPA Safety Factor
mandated by the FQPA taking into
consideration potential pre and/or post natal
toxicity and completeness of the data with
respect to exposure and toxicity to infants and
children. In the majority of instances, the
PAD and the RfD are the same. It is only in
those few instances when the FQPA Safety
Factor is attributed to residual uncertainty
with regard to exposure or pre/post natal
toxicity that the RfD and PAD differ. More
recently, FQPA Safety Factors can account
for uncertainties in the overall completeness
of the toxicity database, extrapolation from
subchronic to a chronic study duration, and
lowest observed adverse effect level
(LOAEL) to no observed adverse effect level
(NOAEL) extrapolation. For this reason,
HHBP values were calculated using the
from exposure to a certain level of a
contaminant over a lifetime.
Most pesticides that have cancer effects do
not have cancer slope factors (e.g., threshold
type carcinogens or those chemicals for which
a mode of action has been established and
accepted by the Agency). In cases where a
cancer slope factor is not calculated, the
chronic (non-cancer) HHBPs are considered
protective of cancer health effects.
How to View the HHBPs and Supporting
To view the table of HHBPs and supporting
information, online go to:
Current EPA health advisories and
enforceable drinking water standards for
other pesticides can be viewed at:
For More Information
For information regarding derivation of
HHBPs, contact Jamie Strong at
For information regarding the documentation
for deriving the reference doses or cancer risk
estimation, contact Brenda May at
For cancer effects, benchmarks were
calculated using cancer slope factors, standard
drinking water exposure assumptions, and a
risk range of one in ten-thousand to one in
one-million excess cancer risk. A cancer slope
factor is the toxicity value for evaluating the
probability of an individual developing cancer