Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 115, Issue 1, pp 195-218

First online:

Emission of Pesticides into the Air

  • F. van den BergAffiliated withSoil and Water Research (SC-DLO), DLO Winand Staring Centre for Integrated Land
  • , R. KubiakAffiliated withStaatliche Lehr und Forschungs Anstalt für Landwirtschaft Weinbau und Gartenbau (SLFA)
  • , W. G. BenjeyAffiliated withAtmospheric Sciences Modeling Division, Air Resources Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • , M.S. MajewskiAffiliated withWater Research Department, US Geological Survey
  • , S.R. YatesAffiliated withUS Salinity Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA
  • , G. L. ReevesAffiliated withDow AgroSciences, Letcombe Regis
  • , J.H. SmeltAffiliated withSoil and Water Research (SC-DLO), DLO Winand Staring Centre for Integrated Land
  • , A.M.A. van der LindenAffiliated withNational Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)

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During and after the application of a pesticide in agriculture, a substantial fraction of the dosage may enter the atmosphere and be transported over varying distances downwind of the target. The rate and extent of the emission during application, predominantly as spray particle drift, depends primarily on the application method (equipment and technique), the formulation and environmental conditions, whereas the emission after application depends primarily on the properties of the pesticide, soils, crops and environmental conditions. The fraction of the dosage that misses the target area may be high in some cases and more experimental data on this loss term are needed for various application types and weather conditions. Such data are necessary to test spray drift models, and for further model development and verification as well. Following application, the emission of soil fumigants and soil incorporated pesticides into the air can be measured and computed with reasonable accuracy, but further model development is needed to improve the reliability of the model predictions. For soil surface applied pesticides reliable measurement methods are available, but there is not yet a reliable model. Further model development is required which must be verified by field experiments. Few data are available on pesticide volatilization from plants and more field experiments are also needed to study the fate processes on the plants. Once this information is available, a model needs to be developed to predict the volatilization of pesticides from plants, which, again, should be verified with field measurements. For regional emission estimates, a link between data on the temporal and spatial pesticide use and a geographical information system for crops and soils with their characteristics is needed.

air quality application technique emission factor emission model glasshouse measurement method pesticides regional emissions spray drift volatilization