Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stop bugging me!

Current Water testing for insecticides show shortcomings

A current study conducted by the Landau-based Institute of Environmental Sciences of the University of Koblenz-Landau, reveals that current monitoring methods for insecticides in water resources is inaccurate. Due to staffing, funding and time constraints, most water samples are regularly taken on fixed dates throughout the year.  This leads to inaccurate measures because “insecticides enter water resources very irregularly and, even though their concentrations exceed the threshold levels only for a short time, their harmful effect is present” (SD, 2013).

Fungicides and herbicides are used on a regular basis; unlike insecticides which are used in cases of acute insect infestation. Very High doses are applied. Even though insecticides often have very short half-lives in the environment; they can still have a harmful effect on aquatic insects and other invertebrates. This in the long run may alter the community composition of the water (SD, 2013).

Testing of water resources should be done when these large volumes of insecticides are being used or when heavy rains wash these chemicals into the water resources. According to the study even daily sampling at fixed times detected on 2 of six peaks. On the other hand, event related sampling measures all the peaks. “ Current practice wastes considerable sums of money, as many of the fixed intervals do not coincide with periods of high insecticide concentrations” (SD, 21013).

This inaccurate testing gives a false sense of safety. Tests that reveal no contaminates should be discarded, according to researchers. The article offered the following suggestions to help minimize effects of pollution. “The environmental pollution of water resources could be reduced with a number of cost-effective and efficient measures: For example, the border strips between area used for agricultural purposes and water resources would have to be widened and effectively structured. Hedges at the edge of the field would reduce the spray drift. Furthermore, constructed wetlands should be furnished with plants, which according to previous studies of the Institute of Environmental Sciences in Landau are capable of reducing pesticide exposure up to 70 per cent” (SD, 2013).

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Sebastian Stehle, Anja Knäbel and Ralf Schulz. Probabilistic Risk Assessment of Insecticide Concentrations in Agricultural Surface Waters: A Critical Appraisal. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 12 December 2012

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