Audubon International is a long time member of the EPA Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP). We were recently contacted by our PESP liaison regarding the incident last week in Wilsonville, OR where an estimated 25,000 bumblebees were found dead or dying. They requested our help in spreading the word that it is imperative that products with the active ingredient dinotefuran be applied according to label with particular attention to avoiding applications or drift onto any flowing plants. (The Oregon Department of Agriculture has temporarily restricted the use of 18 ornamental, turf, and agricultural pesticide products containing the active ingredient dinotefuran by both professional applicators and homeowners as the investigation continues.) For more information about the incident, the restriction, and the investigation, the EPA recommends visiting the Oregon Department of Agriculture website

This serves as a good reminder there are always risks associated with chemical use, including serious consequences for people, the environment, and your business. Risks are not only limited to chemicals in their liquid, gas, or particulate form, but also in the form of dust, fumes, fibers, mists, and vapors.

Human Risks

  • Physical hazards – Chemical reactions can result in fire, explosion, or toxic gas release, which cause physical trauma if chemicals are handled or stored improperly.
  • Health hazards – Harmful health effects (illness, chronic disease, sub-lethal impacts) can be caused directly from chemicals.

Environmental Risks

  • Diminished water quality – The likelihood of pesticide contamination of ground water and water wells depends partly on the geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the site, as well as on pesticide characteristics. Contamination is usually the result of improper application or careless handling, storage, or disposal of unused pesticides and pesticide containers.
  • Detrimental effects on non-target species – Chemical drift or runoff may impact wildlife species in the vicinity of the chemical application.
  • Poor soil structureundefinedDisturbance to soil structure and organisms from chemical use negatively impacts nutrient cycling and plant growth.

Business Risks

  • Liability – Improper storage or handling of chemicals increases liability. Contamination can result in costly environmental cleanup and fines.
  • Poor public opinion – The public has repeatedly voiced concern regarding chemical use and its environmental and health effects.
  • Pest resistance – Target pests can develop resistance to a chemical that is used repeatedly, resulting in the need to use increasingly toxic chemicals to control the pest.

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