Submitted to: American Chemical Society National Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 10, 2006
Publication Date: September 14, 2006
Citation: Yates, S.R. 2006. Overview of agricultural fumigation: Past, present, and future. American Chemical Society National Meeting. pp# AGRO-9 Technical Abstract: Methyl bromide (MeBr) has been widely used since the 1940's to prepare soil for crop production. Its success as a soil fumigant is largely due to a wide spectrum of control against pests during many stages of life, the ability to rapidly penetrate soils, and the ease of application. However, in 1991, MeBr was identified as a stratospheric ozone-depleting compound, which has led to its phase-out in the United States. Economic assessments have indicated that a MeBr phase-out could have a substantial adverse impact on many agricultural commodities because alternative control practices are either less effective or more expensive than MeBr fumigation. Further, in 1997, USEPA promulgated a national ambient 8-hour near-surface ozone air-quality standard that affects the use of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), such as soil fumigants, in air basins not meeting the standards. Nationwide, approximately 300 counties could be classified as not complying with this new air-quality standard and may require limits on the use of VOCs. The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of the problems facing soil fumigation, current approaches to reduce harmful environmental effects from fumigant use, and to offer possible areas of future research that may assist in protecting the environment and lead to the continued use of this important class of chemicals.