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Study: Nearly 60 percent of pesticide sprayers don't follow instructions for safe herbicide application, increasing harmful chemical drift

Pesticide drift

(NaturalNews) Given their highly toxic nature and high potential for causing harm, one would like to believe that the application of pesticides is a very strictly controlled procedure, and that those who carry it out are highly trained. Unfortunately, a recent survey shows that those who apply pesticides are not nearly as conscientious as they should be.

A survey carried out by weed specialist Kevin Bradley of the University of Missouri Extension revealed a very unsettling fact: 57 percent of those who apply pesticides in the state of Missouri do not read the label every time they mix and spray these carcinogenic chemicals.

In fact, of the 2,200 people who were surveyed, 16 percent said that they read the labels half the time or less, and 1.2 percent even admitted that they never read the labels.

MU researcher Mandy Bish finds this extremely concerning. Bish says that following labels not only helps sustain a healthy environment and can reduce waste and mistakes, but it can also boost profits and effectiveness, so there really is no reason not to read the label every time.

Labels can change

The Weed Science Society of America has stated that the label on these pesticides is not something you can commit to memory after glancing at it once, and even if you could, labels are known to change.

The survey uncovered many more disheartening statistics. Herbicides that are applied at wind speeds that exceed those recommended on the label can blow into nearby fields, damaging crops and other plants. Yet, 4 percent of applicators never bother to check the wind speed or check it less than half the time.

Meanwhile, two fifths look at trees to check the wind speed, which has been proven to be a highly inaccurate way of judging wind speeds. Devices such as handheld anemometers and other wind speed tools can provide far more accurate results.

Labels typically recommend spraying when the wind speed is in the range of 3 to 10 miles per hour, although there are a few that will go up to 15 miles per hour. Low speeds can also be problematic; wind speeds of less than 3 miles per hour could mean that the ground temperatures are lower than those at higher altitudes, which can create a stable air mass where pesticide droplets can linger and then be moved by wind gusts to plants for which they were not intended.

Many applicators weren't even aware of the cutoff, with 24 percent saying that 15 miles per hour was the cutoff, and 3.5 percent saying that spraying at more than 20 miles per hour was safe. Some said that it depended on which chemical was being used, while others admitted that they were guided by how far behind they were on getting their work done.

The majority of respondents were not familiar with the specialty crop site registry FieldWatch, which can help pesticide applicators work with bee keepers and crop producers to protect specialty crops.

Pesticide drift can contaminate 'safe' foods

The possibility of pesticides drifting onto other crops is just one more reason that food testing by independent parties can be really illuminating. When Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, tested a number of grocery store foods, fast foods, supplements and spices for his book Food Forensics, he found an alarming number of pesticides and other toxic elements lurking in some of the most unexpected places. Staying informed about what you put in your body is absolutely vital if you want to avoid ingesting toxins that can wreak havoc on your health.

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