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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Pesticide Deposition on Coveralls During Vineyard Applications

Authors
item Coffman, Charlotte - CORNELL UNIVERSITY
item Obendorf, S - CORNELL UNIVERSITY
item Derksen, Richard

Submitted to: Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 6, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Worker exposure to pesticides is becoming an increasing important factor for the chemical industry and application equipment manufacturers. Spray equipment operators are placed in extreme risk because of their close proximity to the discharge area and due to the relatively long exposure duration. Most of the efforts of equipment manufacturers have focused on making available nozzles that produce larger droplets for reducing spray drift. However, for most vineyard applications large droplet applications are not practical. They also require vertical as well as horizontal spray delivery which can put more material in the air than a boom application made to field crops and increase the exposure risk. Field tests were conducted to evaluate the differences in exposure risk between tunnel or hooded sprayer treatments to the vines and conventional, air-assist treatments. An agricultural fungicide was used as the tracer. The hooded sprayer treatment produced lower pesticide deposits on the tractor driver than the conventional, air-assist treatment. Reducing the spray volume delivery from the air-assist sprayer, without reducing the rate of fungicide application, offered no significant decrease in operator exposure. This research will benefit growers and equipment operators because they will be able to use this information to make safer equipment choices. This research also illustrates means for reducing environmental contamination and the potential for exposure for equipment operators, even during relatively short work periods.

Technical Abstract: Off-target spray movement contributes to operator exposure to pesticides as well as environmental contamination. Spray equipment operators are placed in extreme risk because of their close proximity to the discharge area and due to the relatively long exposure duration. Most of the efforts of equipment manufacturers have focused on making available nozzles that produce larger droplets for reducing spray drift. However, for most vine treatments, large droplet applications are not practical. They also require predominately lateral and vertical spray delivery. Field tests were conducted to evaluate the differences in exposure risk between hooded sprayer treatments and conventional, air-assist treatments. An agricultural fungicide was use as the tracer. The hooded sprayer had one set of vertical booms directing spray at each side of the row. Two carrier rates of pesticide mix, 467 and 748 L/ha, were evaluated for the hooded sprayer. The air-assist sprayer used only one side of the sprayer to make the applications but it made one pass on each side of treatment row so that the same rate of fungicide tracer was applied in the treatment area. Neutron activation analysis was used to evaluate fungicide deposits on the clothing samples. All treatments produced measurable amounts of pesticide on the operator's coveralls. Significantly greater amounts of fungicide were found on coveralls worn during air-assist operations than during hooded sprayer operation. Reducing the carrier rate through the hooded sprayer offered no additional benefit in reducing operator exposure. Results of these tests showed that extra protection is needed in the region of the neck, shoulder, and arms of the operator.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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