The mutagenicity and the mutagen formation potential (MFP) of seven fungicides, 15 herbicides and 22 insecticides upon chlorination were measured with the Ames Salmonella assay. All the pesticides except for thiram and dichlorvos were non-mutagenic. However, 75% of the tested pesticides showed significant MFP. This indicated that the chlorination by-products of some pesticides are mutagenic, although the pesticides themselves are not. No significant mutagenicity or MFP was observed for 20% of the pesticides tested in the present study. Thiram and dichlorvos, representing 5% of the tested pesticides, had significant mutagenicity and MFP. The average MFP of asulam, which had the highest MFP in this study, was 860 times greater than the average MFP of propyzamide, which had the lowest MFP (below the detection limit). In addition, the chemical structures of pesticides which had significant MFPs were compared to each other in order to see if there are common characteristics among them, but we could not predict whether pesticides are capable of forming mutagens from their chemical structures, use types or mode of actions. MFP measurements are indispensable in order to know whether pesticides are capable of forming mutagens.

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