Occurrences of the Typical Agricultural Non-ionic Surfactants Tristyrylphenol Ethoxylates in Cherries (Cerasus pseudocerasus), Peaches (Amygdalus persica), and Kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis) and the Implications of Human Exposure in China

Tristyrylphenol ethoxylates (TSPnEOs) are widely used as non-ionic surfactants in pesticide formulations in China. However, limited information is available regarding the occurrences of TSPnEOs in fruits. In this study, 361 fruit samples were collected from the main growing areas in China from 2016 to 2017 and analyzed for TSPnEO contamination using gel permeation chromatography–high-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. TSPnEOs were detected in all samples, with a total concentration range of 0.5–14786.0 μg/kg (median of 85.0 μg/kg). The total concentrations were significantly but weakly correlated with the residues of acetamiprid (r = 0.119; p < 0.05) and carbendazim (r = −0.170; p < 0.01), suggesting that the TSPnEO residues are probably associated with the use of these pesticides during fruit growth. A risk assessment showed that there were little or no risks to human health. However, the risks to health associated with exposure to TSPnEOs should not be ignored because of their ubiquitousness in fruit samples.