Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/7/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: To meet new standards by the Environmental Protection Agency for commercial spraying in greenhouses, an automated spray system was developed. This eliminates the need for employees to wear uncomfortable and restraining protective suits which can be dangerously warm during the summer. Using timers and other off-the-shelf parts, the greenhouse circulation is stopped for two hours at some convenient time and a mist containing the pesticide is automatically applied to the plants. At the end of two hours, normal operations of the greenhouse machinery is resumed. The employee does not apply the spray and does not have to dispose of spray waste because all mixed spray is expended by the system. The employee is exposed to fewer hazards and the employer has a reduced level of liability.
Technical Abstract: Under EPA's Workers Protection Standard Act of 1992, persons spraying a pesticide in a greenhouse are usually required to wear protective clothing, face mask and breath filtered air. With this clothing, the occupant is usually uncomfortable and may be at risk of over heating and becoming dehydrated. The objective of this research was to devise an automated greenhouse spray system so hand spraying was not necessary. Using off-the-shelf components, air pressure controlled by a solenoid valve on a timer is fed into a tank containing the pesticide. The pesticide exits through mist nozzles which are 0.91 m on centers above greenhouse benches. The system required less labor than hand spraying and was equally as effective. Hazards associated with spraying by the employee are minimized and the potential liability for the employer are reduced.