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How Dangerous is Pesticide Drift?

How Dangerous is Pesticide Drift?

Dear EarthTalk: What is “pesticide drift,” and should I be worried about it?—Nicole Kehoe, Burlington, Vt.

If you live near a big farm or an otherwise frequently manicured landscape, “pesticide drift”—drifting spray and dust from pesticide applications—could be an issue for you and yours. Indeed, pesticide drift is an insidious threat to human health as well as to wildlife and ecosystems in and around agricultural and even residential areas where harsh chemicals are used to ward off pests. The biggest risk from pesticide drift is to those living, working or attending school near larger farms which employ elevated spraying equipment or crop duster planes to apply chemicals to crops and fields. Children are especially vulnerable to these airborne pesticides, given that their young bodies are still growing and developing.
“When pesticides are sprayed they can drift and settle on playgrounds, porches, laundry, toys, pools, furniture and more,” reports the non-profit Pesticide Action Network (PAN). “Some of the most toxic pesticides in use in the U.S. today are also the most drift prone, and yet this common route of exposure remains largely invisible.”

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