Spring is finally here, and with the new season comes the increased usage of pesticides. Pesticide applicators and handlers face multiple routes from which they can become exposed to pesticides. One type of exposure can occur when pesticides contact unprotected or inadequately protected eyes. Eye exposures may occur before, during, or after the application processes. During the mixing and loading process, pesticides may accidentally reach eyes as a result of splashing, splattering of liquid chemicals, or blowing of dry products. Exposures can also occur during the application process, especially when pesticides are applied during windy weather. Exposures occurring after the application process often occur as a result of rubbing eyes with contaminated hands, gloves, or clothing.
Symptoms of pesticide exposure to the eyes will vary from product to product and with the extent of the exposure. The Precautionary Statements section of the product label will often describe some of the potential effects to eyes. Some may include:
• Causes moderate eye irritation
• Causes substantial, but temporary eye injury
• Causes irreversible eye damage
Exposure to a product may not result in noticeable symptoms, but may provide a route for the product to enter the body and contribute to chronic long-term effects. Others pesticides may cause a short-term mild to severe irritation. The most dangerous products may result in temporary or permanent blindness.
Most product labels will recommend some form of eye protection. This information can be found within the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) section of the label's Precautionary Statements. Not all labels require eye protection. However, eye protection is still advisable when handling and applying any type of pesticide.
Several types of eye protection are available for applicators.
Safety glasses are the most basic form of eye protection. They are inexpensive and available in a variety of styles. Purchase glasses with brow and side shields for additional protection. Safety glasses will primarily help protect eyes from particles in the air, but do little to protect against splashing. They are best used under conditions with minimal exposure risk. Also, note that reading glasses are not a substitute, and will not provide protection during work activities. If corrective lenses are required, select safety glasses with prescription lenses or purchase safety glasses that fit over your prescription glasses.
Safety goggles provide more extensive eye protection than glasses. Select goggles that are tight fitting and splash resistant. This type usually has indirect vents as opposed to perforations or air holes that may allow liquids to leak in. Some product labels may specifically require the use of goggles.
A face shield may also be specifically required by a product label. Face shields provide an additional barrier of protection and should be worn with safety glasses or goggles.
Even the best protected eyes may be exposed to pesticides. In the event of an exposure, the applicator must be prepared to act quickly. Eyewash stations or a source of clean water should be near the applicator at all times. Inexpensive eyewash bottles can be useful and allow victims additional time to reach a faucet or other sufficient water source.
Pesticides should be rinsed from the eyes as soon as possible. In general, applicators should avoid wearing contacts lenses while working with pesticides. If contact lenses are present, the product label may recommend rinsing for a few minutes, removing the lenses, and then continuing the rinse process.
To rinse, hold the victim's eyelids open and flush the eye with a gentle stream of clean, running water. The eyes should be rinsed for 15 minutes or longer. Do not use chemicals or drugs in the wash water as they may increase the severity of the injury. After rinsing, seek immediate medical attention.
Always read the label in its entirety before handling, mixing, and applying the product. Utilize all the required Personal Protective Equipment. Know and understand the label's recommended course of action in the event of an exposure. This preparation may seem insignificant; however, in an emergency you may physically be unable to read the label.
The National Agricultural Health Study is a federally funded, long-term study focusing primarily on cancer rates among farmers in North Carolina and Iowa. In addition, a large portion of the participants from Iowa are professional agricultural pesticide applicators. The 89,658 participants in the study are all agricultural workers, their spouses, and their children.
The Agricultural Health Study relies on memory for the practices of participants prior to 1993, but since then has been tracking agricultural practices and health effects as they occur. Included in some of the studies has been the collection of genetic, urine, and blood samples, as well as on-site observations of the agricultural activities of the participants. The study is expected to continue at least through 2013. All of the participants are interviewed every 5 years.
A research paper published in 2013 used the data from the National Agricultural Health Study to determine an association between the use of fonofos, malathion, terbufos, and aldrin and aggressive prostate cancer in men participating in the study. The paper, Koutros, S., et. al. (2013). Risk of Total and Aggressive Prostate Cancer and Pesticide Use in the Agricultural Health Study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 177(1):59-74, can be accessed at http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/177/1/59.long.
Fonofos is a discontinued, highly toxic, organophosphate insecticide that was sold as Dyfonate and other brand names. Malathion is also an organophosphate insecticide, but is low in toxicity and is currently available as Malathion and other brand names. Terbufos is also a currently available organophosphate insecticide sold as Counter and other brand names. It is highly toxic. Aldrin is a discontinued, highly toxic, organochlorine insecticide that was sold as Aldrin and other brand names.
Previous research published from the National Agricultural Health Study showed an increased risk of prostate cancer associated with methyl bromide use. Methyl bromide is a highly toxic fumigant. Aggressive prostate cancer was not evaluated in the methyl bromide study. The use of methyl bromide has declined since 1993 due to the US Environmental Protection Agency reducing labeled uses because of its association with ozone depletion in the atmosphere.
Previous pesticide and prostate cancer studies have mixed results. A recent study in Canada reported no association between fonofos and prostate cancer, but an increased risk with malathion. Another US study showed no association between malathion and prostate cancer. In a different study, azinphos-methyl, a highly toxic, organophosphate insecticide sold as Guthion and other brand names has been associated with prostate cancer. Several other occupational studies have implicated organochlorine insecticide use with prostate cancer risk but have not identified specific organochlorine insecticides such as this study does with aldrin. None of the above studies addressed aggressive prostate cancer.
Organophosphates are metabolized or changed after entering the body into oxon forms, which are more toxic than the original chemical insecticide. Oxon forms have been associated with reactive oxygen species and DNA damage. Reactive oxygen species are molecules that have been linked to cell death, DNA damage, aging, and other concerns as well as positive effects such as activation of host defense genes, wound repair, and immune response. DNA damage is a major cause of various cancers.
Some organochlorine insecticides have been shown to be endocrine disruptors. Organochlorine insecticides accumulate in fat and may cause endocrine disruptor effects over an extended time period. This mechanism may account for the increased prostate cancer risk by aldrin.
Pesticide applicators with a history of using these insecticides should be particularly watchful for the development of aggressive prostate cancer. Considering that organophosphates in general convert to oxon forms in the body, applicators of other organophosphate insecticides should be alert for prostate cancer as well.
For those of you who either treat seeds or handle them, there is a new educational resource available to you. "The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship" is now available online at http://seed-treatment-guide.com/. This educational tool serves as a reference document and provides general guidance to help producers in voluntarily developing and implementing stewardship practices pertaining to the use of seed treatments and treated seed.
According to the website, "'The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship' is the product of industry-wide collaboration between seed companies, seed treatment providers and universities – and it draws from data collected worldwide. Jointly produced by the American Seed Trade Association and CropLife America, its purpose is to provide farmers and seed companies with critical information and up-to-date guidelines for managing treated seeds effectively to minimize the risk of exposure to non-target organisms.
The Guide has been enthusiastically endorsed by the National Corn Growers Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the American Soybean Association, and it has been shared with the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture — both of whom have applauded the industry's initiative in this effort.
As seed treatment technology advances, more resources are developed, and the needs of the seed and crop production value chain evolve, the guide will be updated to ensure the latest in seed treatment management information for seed companies and growers."
The guide includes sections on:
• Safe Use of Seed Treatment Products and Safe Handling and Transport of Treated Seeds
• Environmental Stewardship
• Selection of Treatment Product
• Commercial Application of Seed Applied Technology
• Treated Seed Labeling
• Storage of Seed Treatment Products and Treated Seeds
• Planting of Commercially Treated Seed
In addition, the site features a list of Treated Seed FAQs that are perfect for providing quick information pertaining to what seed treatment is as well as what environmental stewardship for treated seeds involves.
The website includes a short video on seed treatment history, the importance of stewardship, and a short description of the guide as well.
Pesticides in Illinois are required to be registered in the state through the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Every product formulation sold in Illinois needs to be registered. It's not just "Roundup glyphosate" but every product that contains glyphosate in whatever strength and by whatever company. It's easy to see how that number can reach into the thousands.
Registered products for the most part (see below) carry the US-EPA Section 3 registration. The US-EPA registration is the "label" – how the product can be used to control certain pests on certain crops in certain situations, with potential problems identified.
FIFRA (or the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act) allows special exceptions to Section 3 registrations.
Section 24 (c) (Special Local Needs) provides states the ability to register products for certain specific pest control on certain plants. Growers know the product will work, but the pests controlled and/or the plants the product is used on may be too specific for the manufacturer to seek a label. In Illinois, the best examples are the products used in the horseradish industry. Section 24 (c)'s are granted and stay in effect for a specified number of years, usually five, and can be renewed unless the US-EPA says "no."
Recently, Mustang Maxx, a pyrethroid-based insecticide, was granted a Section 24 (c) in Illinois for use on field corn.
Section 18 (Emergency Exemption) is for products that are NOT currently registered by the US-EPA but research shows the product can provide control where economic loss can be high. The company granted a Section 18 for one or more products must actively seek full registration with the US-EPA, usually within several years, though some may be granted a Section 18 exemption for a decade or more.
In Illinois, several products used in basil production have been granted Section 18s in the past several years. Recently, HopGuard (potassium salts of hop beta acids) and Apivar (amitraz) have been granted Section 18s for use on controlling varroa mites on honeybees.
Section 18s are granted by individual states. Just because one state grants it, doesn't mean it's registered in every state. This is important.
Section 2(ee) allows chemical companies some leeway to add pests and/or sites to the label as long as those pest/s and site/s are NOT currently prohibited by the label. That's key. Product registrants do not need to seek the approval of the US-EPA nor the Illinois Department of Agriculture, though either agency can say "no."
Recent Section 2(ee) registrations granted are:
Delegate WG insecticide (DowAG) – Control of Spotted Wing Drosophila on bushberries (subgroup 13B), caneberries (subgroup 13A), grape, pome fruits (crop group 11), stone fruits (crop group 12)
Force 3G insecticide (Syngenta) – reduced rate for corn rootworm on corn rootworm traited corn planted in narrow rows (15"-20")
Force CS insecticide (Syngenta) – same as above
Radiant SC (DowAg) – control of potato psyllid in potatoes
Voliam Flexi Insecticide (Syngenta) – brown marmorated stink bug on brassica leafy vegetables, cucurbit vegetables, leafy vegetables, and pome fruit sections
Cannonball WP fungicide (Syngenta) – Cylindrocladium root rot on blueberries
Heritage TL Fungicide (Syngenta) – Pythium root dysfunction on golf green courses
Heritage Fungicide (Syngenta) – same as above
Aquathol K Aquatic Herbicide (UPI) – water lettuce, water hyacinth, common salvinia, giant salvinia
In today's modern world of the interconnected net and smart phones, it seems information is only seconds away. Whether it be a phone number, movie times, or something vastly more complicated, you can turn to your computer or smart phone for the answer.
Spraying is no different. Many of the more complicated things associated with spraying (i.e., those things involving math) have tools available online or on an app. In this article, I will highlight several websites with spraying tools and smart phone apps, especially those that assist with sprayer calibration. I have tried to be thorough, but this list is by no means exhaustive.
CP Products (http://www.cpproductsinc.com) makes nozzles for both aerial and ground applications, and their home page features a list of available options for each application platform. For ground products, CP has an interactive flow rate calculator for certain nozzle types that can be used to determine the required flow rate for an application.
Select "Flow Rate Calculators" from the home page. There are three interactive flow rate calculator options available depending on what style of nozzle the applicator is interested in using. The flow rate calculator page for each nozzle has a list of all orifice and tip combinations available. For each combination, various pressures and corresponding flow rates are given.
The applicator enters speed and nozzle spacing, and the website will calculate the gallons per acre applied with those settings. Droplet size is indicated by the background color of the GPA cell.
Greenleaf's (http://www.turbodrop.com) nozzle calculator allows the applicator to enter the desired spray application rate in gallons per acre, the speed, and the nozzle spacing. The website then calculates the required nozzle flow rate.
Below the required flow rate is a chart that lists all of the available orifice sizes from Greenleaf nozzles and the required pressure for each orifice size to achieve the targeted flow rate. Below that, each nozzle type is represented in a column, and the corresponding droplet size for the orifice size, pressure, and nozzle type is displayed.
The nozzle calculator is located in the "Choose the Right Nozzle" menu at the top of the Greenleaf homepage.
Hypro's website (http://www.hypropumps.com) has the SprayIT spray tip selection calculator. Find it by selecting the "Tools and Videos" link on Hypro's home page. First, you select whether you're making a broadcast, banded/directed, or totally boomless application. A fourth option, Boom X Tender, is available for selecting a boomless nozzle for use on the end of a spray boom set up to make broadcast applications.
For the broadcast, banding, and boomless options you enter your application specifications such as spray application rate, speed, and effective sprayed width. For broadcast applications, the effective sprayed width is the nozzle tip spacing. For banded/directed applications, it is a function of the width of the band and the number of nozzles used to spray each band. For boomless, the effective sprayed width is the swath width covered per side in feet.
You can also specify the solution density for calibrating for applications where a fertilizer is used as the carrier. The website will then return a list of nozzle types, orifice sizes, and pressures that will generate the required flow rate for your application along with the droplet size created.
Teejet (http://www.teejet.com) has two tools available for calibrating and setting up a sprayer on their website. The calibration calculator is found under the "Calculator" menu, and it assists applicators with calibration math. The applicator first selects US or metric units, then indicates type of application––broadcast, banded/boomless, or directed. Then you choose which variable you want calculated: nozzle flow rate, sprayer speed, application rate, or nozzle spacing. Next, the required information is entered and the calculation performed.
The interactive nozzle selection guide is found under the "Selection Guides" menu. The first user option is crop protection or liquid fertilizer. From there, the applicator makes a series of selection with the end result being a list of nozzle types TeeJet would recommend for making the type of application selected. For example, the applicator could choose crop protection, systemic, and broadcast spraying. A list of possible nozzle types is generated, and the applicator can then click on individual nozzle types to learn more about them.
Wilger (http://www.wilger.net/) has what they call the Tip Wizard on their website. An applicator starts by choosing the desired units of measurement, spray system (standard or blended pulse), and whether you want to search all spray tips or a specific tip type. Next, the applicator enters the target application rate, speed, nozzle spacing, desired spray fan angle, and target droplet size. Clicking "Search for Spray Tips" returns a list of nozzle types, sizes, and pressures that will work for the application parameters as entered. Included in the information is the droplet size.
A great feature is that the application target as entered by the applicator is highlighted in green for each nozzle type and size. The chart for each nozzle includes information about what happens to the pressure and droplet size as speed is either decreased or increased from the speed entered for the calculation.
This is great for understanding what will happen to your droplet size when you use that nozzle with an automatic rate controller and change speeds during an application. The search for specific tip function is similar except that you select the specific orifice size you're interested in using for the application.
Clemson Cooperative Extension
Clemson's spray application app allows the applicator to enter the type of application, broadcast or banded, the nozzle spacing, number of nozzles, speed, and the time being used to collect spray from each nozzle. From there, the applicator has two options – calculate the required amount of spray from each nozzle in order to make an application at a specified spray application rate, or calculate the spray application rate given the amount of spray collected from each nozzle.
The input variable changes depending on which option is selected. If calculate volume/area (spray application rate) is chosen, the amount of spray collected from each nozzle is entered and the resulting volume/area is calculated. If catch/nozzle is selected, the desired volume/area is entered and the app calculates the required amount of spray to be collected in order to spray at that volume/area. The units of measurement for the various variables can be changed easily.
The Hardi Nozzle Selector App is available for both the iPhone and Android platforms. The applicator selects speed (mph) and volume (gpa) and the app then returns the required flow rate. One drawback is that the applicator cannot choose the nozzle spacing, which is set at 20 inches. Unfortunately, the app does not provide this information; I had to perform the equation by hand to confirm that it was 20 inches.
Below the required flow rate calculated by the app is a list of nozzle options sorted by nozzle type and the wind conditions in which Hardi would recommend using that nozzle type: wind still, light breeze, windy conditions, or very windy conditions. Once the nozzle type/wind conditions have been selected, the app displays a list of the orifice size options for that nozzle type that could be used to meet the required flow rate.
Selecting a specific orifice size reveals the operating pressure required for that orifice size to meet the required flow rate and the droplet size created at that pressure. Also included is the maximum and minimum speed at which the nozzle can be operated in order to stay within the pressure range for the nozzle. A brief description of the nozzle is also included in the results.
The Hypro app is very similar to their website, and it has the same name: SprayIT. The opening page allows the applicator to select the type of application to calibrate for: broadcast, banding/directing, boomless, or Boom Xtender. Next, the applicator enters various application parameters such as tip spacing, speed, application rate, solution density, and desired droplet size. The app then calculates the required flow rate and generates a list of nozzle types, sizes, and required operating pressures that provide the desired parameters. For the Boom Xtender spraying option, only the boom tip spacing and orifice size are available as parameters the applicator can choose.
TeeJet's app is called SpraySeleect Tip Selector. It starts by having the applicator enter the speed, nozzle spacing, and GPA. It also asks if you are using fertilizer as a carrier. If yes, the next screen will ask you to enter the specific gravity of the fertilizer. Once the information is entered, a green arrow takes you to the next screen, where the required flow rate is given and a list of suitable nozzle types, sizes, and pressures are given.
The droplet size is selected on this screen, and you have two options. You can either tell the app what type of product you are applying (systemic, contact, or soil applied) or request selection of specific droplet size.
If you select the type of product, the app selects which droplet sizes are most appropriate for applying those types of products, and the list of nozzles, orifices, and pressures reflects those that can meet both the required flow rate and the recommended range of droplet sizes. If you select droplet size, you can select the droplet spectrum or spectrums you need to create for your application.
From the list of nozzles, selecting an individual nozzle brings up more information about that nozzle, including a graph that shows the pressure and associated speed range, as well as what will happen to the droplet size if speed (and thus pressure) is increased or decreased from the specified application speed. This is very useful for applications using a flow control system. If fertilizer was selected as the carrier, there is no option for selecting droplet size.