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Ins and outs of pesticide residues.

Ins and outs of pesticide residues

On field-grown crops, pesticide residues tend to diminish rapidly through decomposition by sunlight or rinsing by rain. Regulators usually take this into account when approving instructions for pesticide application. But safety margins based on outdoor use may not protect greenhouse workers, asserts J.J. van Hemmen of the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research in Rijswijk.

He observes that Dutch flower workers seldom wear gloves in the hot, sweaty greenhouse environment. Moreover, van Hemmen's team found that pesticide residues on greenhouse-grown carnations and roses showed "no decay" over time. One experiment indicated that greenhouse workers who cut, sort or bundle carnations sprayed with chlorothalonil may expose their unprotected hands and forearms to five times the recommended 10-milligram daily limit of this fungicide.

These findings, which surprised many scientists at the conference, highlight the pitfalls of extrapolating data from one occupational setting (outdoor fields) to another (the greenhouse), says Richard A. Fenske of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., who studies pesticide exposures.
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Title Annotation:protecting greenhouse workers
Author:Raloff, Janet
Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 1, 1990
Words:169
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