Pesticide critics apply new monitoring technique

Pesticide Action Network North America, a large environmental group with the objective of “replacing the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives”, has just published a report which brings a new tool to advancement of public knowledge of the pesticides that are used on food crops.

Pesticide Drift Monitoring in Minnesota June 13, 2006 – August 13, 2009 is the report of a study which used ‘Drift Catcher’ sampling devices located on the properties of local residents who were concerned about the possible effects of agricultural pesticides on family and animal health. The ‘Drift Catcher’ is a well established low cost easy to use air sampling tool. Using a community-based sampling approach, PAN was able to find that local potato crops were being sprayed with chlorothalonil, a permitted fungicide classified by US EPA as a likely human carcinogen. PAN concluded that “central Minnesota residents in potato growing areas are regularly exposed to low to moderate levels of the commonly used fungicide chlorothalonil in air”.

The PAN report provides full details on the sampling technique used including site selection, sample collection, sample analysis, quality assurance and quality control, and interpretation of results. Only the names and addresses of the people who hosted the sampling sites have been omitted, for privacy reasons.

Two aspects make this report interesting to GallonDaily. First. the ‘Drift Catcher’ social networking methodology makes it much easier for environmental groups to gather data which can lead to such media headlines as “pesticide drift raises health concerns” and, second, we can expect in future to see many more environmental groups undertaking research on pesticide use on food and other crops using techniques such as this.

Pesticide Drift Monitoring in Minnesota June 13, 2006 – August 13, 2009. http://www.panna.org/sites/default/files/TechReport_MN-Drift_May2012.pdf

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