Integrated Pest Management Update

Dr. Alex Lu, Assistant Professor, Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. His specialty is assessing human exposure to environmental chemicals and subsequent health risks. Dr. Lu and an associate are awaiting word on an EPA grant to conduct a study using 50 Peachtree City soccer children. The study will measure through urine and saliva samples whether or not pesticides are absorbed into children’s blood after playing on treated sports fields.

Dr. Tim Murphy, Professor of Weed Science at UGA’s Griffin campus. He conducts research and outreach education programs, and also teaches the weed science portion of a turf grass pest management course at the Athens campus.

Mr. Doug Jones, Manager of the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Division, which enforces state and federal laws pertaining to the use and application of pesticides. He has been with the Department of Agriculture since 1996 and has been a Pesticide Field Agent and a Special Project Coordinator. Since 1998 he has been responsible for managing the certification of pesticide applicators, contractors and dealers in Georgia.

In addition, Clint invited Ms. Tanya Steffler to sit on the panel. Tanya is the Pest Management Program manager in Oshawa, Canada, and she has an established IPM program that is four years in the making. Clint read about her in this magazine and convinced the GTA to bring her to Atlanta to share her knowledge.

The Panel Speaks

So with this five-member panel, we re-enacted the 2005 panel discussion. As before, the panel was balanced among the medical side (the Emory doctors), the application side (Dr. Murphy and Ms. Steffler) and the regulatory side (Mr. Jones).

Of course, the audience was different, for in 2005 we had parents of soccer children, representatives from the pesticide industry and the media in attendance. We weren’t as deep into the “E” zone (emotional zone) as before. This year’s audience of about 60 people consisted of pesticide applicators, parks and rec field maintenance people, landscapers and turf care specialists.

I introduced the topic by summarizing what had happened in 2005 that led to the workshop. Then I introduced the panelists to establish their credentials and areas of expertise vis-a-vis the pesticide issue. Each panelist then gave a 10- to15-minute presentation that focused on his or her unique view of this topic.

As happened in 2005, it was clear by the end of the presentations that the common denominator was the factor of risk management. The audience could see that, if misused or overused, pesticides could present a risk, but if properly applied and controlled, that risk was no more risky … and possibly less risky … than driving a car. We drive heavy metal vehicles fueled with highly volatile fuel at high rates of speed often in heavy traffic. But we accept that risk as necessary to carry on day-to-day living in the modern world.

At the conclusion of the panel presentations, we had some very lively and astute questions from the audience, which clearly indicated they had listened and were interested. As had happened in 2005, the panelists and I left the session feeling that we had imparted some enlightening information about pesticide use on sports fields from a perspective that wasn’t normally viewed.

All in all, it was a very worthwhile effort and an effective way to further study and learn about the value of a good IPM program.

Randy Gaddo is Director of Parks, Recreation and Library Services in Peachtree City, Ga., and a frequent contributor to Parks & Rec Business. Watch for his IPM updates in future issues. He can be contacted via e-mail at rgaddo@ptcgovernment.org

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Related posts:

  1. Integrated Pest Management Update
  2. Integrated Pest Management Update
  3. How Pesticides Are Saving The Earth
  4. Pesticide Rebuttal
  5. Plan The Work, Work The Plan

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