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Pesticides and the Environment. ASM 336. Pesticides . Goal: to stop or limit pest occurrence Types: Insecticides – kill insects Herbicides – kill weeds Fungicides – suppress or kill fungi. Benefits.

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Presentation Transcript
  • Goal: to stop or limit pest occurrence
  • Types:
    • Insecticides – kill insects
    • Herbicides – kill weeds
    • Fungicides – suppress or kill fungi
  • Allow agricultural producers to improve the quality, quantity, and diversity of our food supply.
  • Used in timber, turf, horticulture, aquatic, and structural pest control industries.
  • Homeowners and home gardeners often use pesticides in their homes, yards, and on pets.
what happens after application
What Happens after Application?
  • When pesticides are applied the goal is that they will remain in the target area long enough to control a specific pest and then degrade into harmless compounds without contaminating the environment.
  • Once applied, many pesticides are mobile in the environment (air, soil, water).
  • This movement can be beneficial (moving pesticide to target area, such as roots) but can also reduce the effect on the target pest and injure nontarget plants and animals.
pathways of pesticide movement
Pathways of pesticide movement
  • Runoff
  • Chemical degradation
  • Volatilize (gas vapor)
  • Leaching and breakdown in soil
  • Leaching and degradation by microbes
  • Photo degradation (sun)
factors influencing a pesticide s fate
Factors influencing a pesticide’s fate
  • Properties of the pesticide
  • Conditions where & when applied
  • Application method
properties of the pesticide
Properties of the pesticide
  • Vapor Pressure (volatility) – pesticides with a high vp are more likely to change to a gas and escape into the atmosphere.
  • Sorption – attraction to soil surfaces, pesticides with higher sorption values have reduced leaching
properties of the pesticide8
Properties of the pesticide
  • Water Solubility/dissolvability - more soluble pesticides have lower sorption and are more mobile in the environment as they are leached or moved with runoff.
  • Persistence – the amount of time a pesticide remains in the environment, measured by half-life. Pesticides with longer half-lives pose a greater threat to the environment.
conditions where when applied
Conditions where & when applied

To maximize pesticide effectiveness and minimize negative environmental impacts, the pesticide must be compatible with the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the application site.

  • For pesticides use in crop or plant pest control consider the following conditions:
  • Soil: physical and chemical properties (texture, amount of organic matter, pH).
conditions where when applied10
Conditions where & when applied
  • Geology – depth to water table (larger distances give more soil to act as filter)
  • Surrounding water sources – nearby water is more susceptible to contamination when pesticides are applied to highly erodible soils, over-irrigated, or rain-soaked soils. Managing crop residues and maintaining grass waterways and filter strips help to protect surface waters from sediment and pesticide pollution.
conditions where when applied11
Conditions where & when applied
  • Environmental conditions – heavy or sustained rainfall or irrigation shortly after pesticide application can increase runoff, leaching, and volatilization.
  • Soil temperatures (extremely high or low) can interfere with pesticide performance. Pesticides generally become more volatile in high temperatures and windy weather.
  • Pesticides can be incorporated (disked in) or applied directly into the soil to decrease the potential for drift and volatilization.
application method
Application method

The challenge for pesticide applicators is to maximize the benefits of pesticides through sound management while reducing environmental risks. This includes:

  • Keeping current of the latest information.
  • Taking all necessary preventive measures, including transportation, secure storage, proper disposal of containers and rinsate, and spill prevention. Furthermore, avoid sensitive areas such as sinkholes, depressions, wells, surface water, public institutions and private buildings.
product labels
Product labels
  • The pesticide label is a binding, legal document. Compliance is required by state and federal regulations.
  • Label directions must be carefully followed – from purchase to container disposal.
  • High risk pesticides may only be purchased and applied by certified persons.
pesticide use
Pesticide Use
  • Careful selection for a specific pest – understand the pest, site, product, and risks.
  • Careful and responsible use.

…shows a consideration for the environment.

….responsible stewardship

Acknowledgement: WQ-19

By B. Joern, B. Lohman, and F. Whitford