Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2009
Publication Date: November 9, 2009
Citation: Mcconnell, L. L. 2009. Pesticides in Air: New Challenges in Agricultural Air Quality Research. Meeting Abstract. Technical Abstract: As agricultural and urban communities have become more intertwined, and the average size of agricultural production operations have increased substantially, issues of air quality have emerged as an area of increasing regulatory pressure for farmers in many countries. The science of measuring emission rates and environmental fate of aerosols/fine particulates, odor, volatile organic compounds, inorganic gases such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, greenhouse gases, and pesticides from agricultural operations has increased in importance. Many organochlorine insecticides are global pollutants, and emissions of these chemicals from contaminated soils will continue for many decades to come. Newer pesticides are much less persistent, but they also enter the atmosphere despite extremely low vapor pressures. The efficacy of some currently used pesticides make fugitive residues more dangerous to sensitive species. While pesticide drift is fairly well understood, post-application volatilization from soils/plants is driven by a number of processes which are highly variable, and emissions are more difficult to estimate accurately. Now fumigants have been identified as contributing to ground-level ozone production in California, and solvents associated with pesticide emulsifiable concentrate formulations are also being examined as ozone precursors. What has not been examined closely are future scenarios as the pendulum swings back from very large agricultural operations located far from urban areas towards local production in smaller farms. It is likely that vegetable production, animal production and urban areas will be more closely linked in space and in the co-utilization of waste streams for bioenergy production. Can we extrapolate what we know now to predict how all these emissions will interact from a chemical perspective to effect air quality in the US? Can we design practices to avoid these problems before they occur? Advances in environmental chemistry, analytical chemistry, and simulation models will be required.