Student Research: Lisa Tolbert

, Environmental Health (EH), 2007
Faculty Advisor: Richard A. Fenske

Ambient Concentrations of Organophosphorus Pesticides Caused by Volatilization During Seasonal Pesticide Application


Abstract

As populations within the United States have grown and expanded into formerly low population density agricultural areas, pesticide application practices have caused increasing concern over the health of those living in nearby communities, particularly for children. One source of pesticide exposure in these nearby communities is termed indirect, secondary, or post-application pesticide drift, which is defined as the airborne movement of pesticides beyond the intended target area due to volatilization from surfaces where pesticides were initially deposited or by wind transfer of aerosolized pesticide particles or pesticides absorbed to particulate matter.

This study is a pilot evaluation of post-application pesticide volatilization within an agricultural community in Eastern Washington. By measuring ambient air concentrations of the organophosphorous (OP) pesticides that typically are applied in the area over a majority of the 2006 pesticide spray season, the goals of this study were to assess the temporal fluctuations in volatilized pesticide concentrations as well as how the concentrations compared spatially between two areas of the community that differed in distance from suspected pesticide application sites. The hypotheses tested were: (1) pesticide levels will be elevated coincident with the spray season in both monitoring areas; and (2) the more "rural" area of the community will contain higher pesticide concentrations than the more "urban" area.

Taken from the beginning of thesis.