A recent report by the Washington State Department of Health says there has been a spike in the number of illnesses due to pesticide spray drift. Joel Kangiser, Pesticide Compliance Program Manager for the Washington State Department of Agriculture says it’s a wake up call.
KANGISER: It’s a report that hopefully will make pesticide applicators aware that we experienced this spring a higher number than usual of pesticide drift incidents and most of those involved human exposures. It kind of makes recommendations or suggestions on ways that they may prevent those type of incidents.
The report is not telling orchardists that they can’t spray.
KANGISER: They can legally spray. They’re not asked to change any of their operation procedures, that type of thing unless of course they’re being negligent or doing something faulty. It’s just saying watch out and make sure you are doing everything the correct way.
There have been 15 potential pesticide drift events resulting in about 60 people getting ill reported to the Washington State Department of Health in the past two months– that’s as many the agency normally sees in a year.
KANGISER: Through WSU we do pesticide education and recertification course for licenses and the Washington State Department of Agriculture is usually involved with a lot of those presentations and we provide information on reading and following the pesticide label is of course a primary requirement.
That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.