- Author: Mike Hsu
Publication in English, Spanish prepares private applicators for state exam
Expanded from four chapters in the previous edition to 12, the third edition of Pesticide Safety: A Study Manual for Private Applicators aims to be more than just a study guide.
The manual, available for purchase in English and Spanish, provides much more detail on essential processes and procedures that will help keep applicators safe while using pesticides – as well as reduce environmental impacts from misapplication.
Published by University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources in collaboration with the state's Department of Pesticide Regulation, the manual – intended for members of the agricultural community who own, manage or work on farms that use restricted-use pesticides – also includes substantial updates.
“The information in the book they were using was way out of date,” said writer/editor Shannah Whithaus, senior editor for pesticide safety education with UC ANR's Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. “Also, the book was much, much shorter than it needed to be, because it wasn't providing enough information for people to safely apply pesticides, given the complexity of the regulatory environment we're in now.”
The new manual reflects important changes to federal and state regulations since the publication of the previous edition in 2006.
“There are significant regulatory updates which help you stay up-to-date with safety rules and standards – and protect your workers from overexposure to pesticides,” said Lisa Blecker, technical editor of the publication, and currently a pesticide safety educator at Colorado State University.
In addition to emphasizing the broader ecological ramifications of improper pesticide use, the manual includes information on subjects that might get short shrift in other manuals, such as the correct calibration of equipment to ensure accuracy of application.
“All of that is now in the book and fully fleshed out,” Whithaus said. “[Applicators] are going to be able to do that much more effectively using the new book, compared to the old one – it was really hard to be thorough in 80-some pages.”
The new edition – totaling more than 200 substantive pages – also features a more streamlined and user-friendly layout modeled after a sister publication, The Safe and Effective Use of Pesticides, written for commercial applicators.
“A significant update is a layout that is not only beautiful, but helps you identify key information you need to know in order to make safe and effective pesticide applications,” Blecker explained.
She highlighted the “knowledge expectations” listed at the beginning of each chapter and in the margins of the book, next to the relevant passages. The statements serve as “visual cues” to help readers learn and retain the material they need to pass California DPR's certification exam for private applicators.
And while the manual functions as an improved study aid for owners, managers and workers who apply pesticides, it doubles as a reference that they can turn to for years to come.
“It's going to be able to serve as a reference manual, as opposed to just a study guide,” Whithaus said. “You really will be able to use this book as a tool to help you do better in managing your land.”
The manual, listed at $29, is available for purchase in English at https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=3383 and in Spanish at https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=3394./h4>
The intensive, hands-on workshop will be led by Ken Giles, professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis; Franz Niederholzer, UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor for Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties; and Lynn Wunderlich, UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor for the Central Sierra region.
The UC ANR instructors will train participants to identify the appropriate spray equipment components, practices and conditions necessary to deliver safe and effective agricultural pest control to a particular location, timing and crop.
The workshop will cover nozzles and atomization, the dynamics of drift and how spray droplets move, factors affecting spray deposition, hydraulic nozzle alternatives (electrostatic, air shear, etc.), measuring spray coverage, pumps, sprayer selection, air-assisted spraying and more.
Before the class, to fully prepare, registrants should view a short, online PowerPoint presentation about basic sprayer calibration. A link to the PowerPoint will be sent in the registration confirmation email. A brief quiz on the material will be given at the beginning of class on Sept. 22.
The training is set to begin at 12 noon on Sept. 22, resuming at 8 a.m. on Sept. 23 and end at 2 p.m.
Registration for the training costs $150 until Sept. 12 and $175 after Sept. 12 and can be paid online at the registration website. Onsite registration will cost $200. The organizers have applied for CDPR Continuing Education units.
To register or to get more information, visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/Spray_Application_Training.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The study is led by Robert Krieger, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside. Krieger is an expert in environmental and occupational toxicology.
This summer, Krieger and a team of researchers spent nearly three weeks in Santa Maria with workers at DB Specialty Farms. The workers wear gloves as they pick strawberries. Before each break, their gloves are collected and frozen for later lab analysis.
“We’ve found that pesticides are transferred to the gloves during normal work and we’re measuring the amounts that are transferred in hopes that we can use it to measure total exposure,” Krieger said. “The real question is how much exposure occurs, how much is OK, and how little occurs under normal conditions of use.”
The team is also collecting samples of strawberries harvested by the workers and samples of leaves.
In order to understand uptake and excretion, the workers are asked to collect urine for 24-hour periods after working in sprayed fields. To be certain any sign of pesticides in the urine came from work exposure, the researchers have also collected 24-hour urine samples from spouses or roommates of the field workers to assess dietary or home exposure.
“The levels of exposure are determined by how much is applied, how much remains on the crop and how much is transferred to people. We’ve independently measured those and came up with an assessment of how much a person is exposed to during their normal work,” Krieger said.
The research focuses on two pesticides: the organophosphate malathion and the pyrethroid fenpropathrin. After the pesticides are applied, there is a three-day waiting period before harvest gets under way. In the project, as soon as the workers are back in the field, the monitoring begins.
Studies that Krieger has conducted over the past 18 years show that low, safe levels of pesticide are absorbed and rapidly excreted by harvesters. Breakdown products of the pesticides – parts of the pesticide molecule that are not toxic – can be measured in the urine, but it is not known whether the pesticide broke down on the plant, before the workers were exposed, or if the workers’ metabolism broke down the pesticides.
“Those breakdown products are not toxic, but if they are absorbed, they will appear in the urine and we can’t tell whether a plant made it or a person made it and that complicates our analysis and that’s one of the new areas that we’re investigating in 2012,” Krieger said.
By comparing the gloves, fruit, leaves and urine and using sophisticated metabolic chemistry in the laboratory analyses, the researchers will be able to reconstruct how much exposure there was during the work day.
If the research concludes that analyzing gloves is a useful way to measure worker exposure, gloves could become an important tool for farmers and regulators. Another probable area of impact from the study is in verifying the levels of exposure, which the researchers are finding to be very low.
“These workers have very low levels of pesticide exposure. And in fact, they’re the best-studied workers with respect to pesticide exposure in agriculture,” Krieger said. “That gives us confidence that the exposure is not having a health impact.”
Definitive results from the August study are expected in about six months.
The research program has been sponsored by strawberry growers of the California Strawberry Commission and the Personal Chemical Exposure Program, UC Riverside. The current Santa Maria research is possible by the involvement of DB Specialty Farms and Safari Farms of Santa Maria, and PrimusLabs.
The research was approved by the Institutional Review Board of UC Riverside and the California Environmental Protection Agency. All the participation is voluntary and the farmworkers and their spouses or roommates are compensated for the inconvenience of urine collection. They receive $25 for each 24-hour collection and a $100 bonus for completing all 10 urine collections.
In addition to the extra pay, the study volunteers benefit by helping improve pesticide safety for themselves and their colleagues.
“These workers are doing a service to other workers by allowing us to measure the amount of exposure that occurs during normal work,” Krieger said.
View video of the on-farm research below: