Pesticides drift and vitalization could result in widespread contamination

Photo Credit:  Rasmus Bøgeskov Larsen Photo Credit: Rasmus Bøgeskov Larsen

A recent article published in Atmospheric Environment shows that the pesticide endosulfan is able to move long distances through the air.  Endosulfan is one of the most toxic pesticides in current use, and is responsible for multiple instances of fatal poisoning.  It acts as an endocrine disruptor and can cause reproductive and developmental damage to humans.  Additionally, this insecticide is able to bioaccumulate in the environment, and its ability to volatize enables it to be transported through the atmosphere.  This transport was examined by a team of USDA researchers who collected air samples over a five-year period sites throughout Florida, including areas within the Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park to examine concentrations of endosulfan released into the atmosphere after agricultural use.  They found that pesticide drift and volatilization was responsible for endosulfan presence in areas where the insecticide was not in use, including the National Park sites.  This study confirms previous reports by the National Park Service’s Western Airborne Contaminants Assessment Project that endosulfan is able to contaminate pristine habitats that are far from pesticide use areas.