Improving Pesticide Selection to Reduce Health and Environmental Risks
This is an innovative on-line tool that ranks pesticide products for impacts on soil, water and air quality, avian and aquatic life, beneficial organisms, and worker and consumer health and safety. This tool applies the best available science to permit producers, advisors and regulatory professionals to compare different pest management scenarios for any commodity and select options with the fewest potential environmental and health hazards, and to identify mitigation options for products/uses selected. The tool is user-friendly and applicable globally.
When a pesticide is needed, choosing least-hazardous options is a key component of IPM. Data and tools needed to fully evaluate potential impacts and tradeoffs across chemical and non-chemical management options are not readily available to the pesticide user. A new online tool developed by the IPM Institute and project partners with support from USDA, Unilever, General Mills and others, will allow growers, crop and IPM consultants and others to evaluate crop- and site-specific risks to human health and the environment. With project partners Pesticide Research Institute and Waterborne Environmental, we will further develop, test and evaluate a pilot tool designed to assist pesticide users and their advisors make educated choices based on potential risks to humans and resource concerns.
Project goals and objectives
(1) An operable on-line tool for use by apple growers and advisors, Extension, researchers and others to evaluate pesticide risks to humans and a specific broad array of resource concerns on a crop and site-specific basis; (2) a detailed list of comments and refinements made to the apple pilot tool with input from potential users and others over the course of this project; (3) a detailed list of comments and specific suggestions made by potential users and others applicable to additional crops planned for implementation in late 2009 and 2010.
A pilot tool will be finalized for apples and tested and refined by presenting the tool to scientists, growers, grower advisors including crop consultants, Extension, NRCS and others from within and outside of our North Central Region. Apples were selected as the pilot crop due to the relatively high use of pesticides in this crop and well established relationships with apple growers, advisors and scientists working in this crop. Participants in this project will include producers and others working in additional crops including grapes, other fruit and vegetables and field crops both within and outside of Region V. We will demonstrate the tool to potential users with production in our region including DelMonte, Welches/National Grape, Westcott AgriProducts and growers, advisors and scientists participating in the Wisconsin EcoFruit and EcoPotato projects. Our objective is to use the apple pilot tool as a demonstration model to obtain input from producers and others in a broad range of crops to prepare us to adapt the tool to these crops during the second half of 2009 through 2010.
Inhalation toxicity and VOC pollution indices will be developed for the tool by Pesticide Research Institute, led by Susan Kegley. Estimation of pesticide concentrations in water will be improved by consultation from Waterborne Environmental, led by Marty Williams.