Air Monitoring Applications

Agricultural Contaminants

People living and working in rural areas are at risk of exposure to wide range of pollutants emitted from agricultural operations.

Exposure to pesticides and herbicides is a significant concern; roughly only 85% of sprayed airborne pesticides reach their target destination [1]; the remaining 15% is distributed elsewhere, as pesticide drift. The US EPA recently introduced proposed guidance on November 4, 2009 for new pesticide labeling to reduce off-target spray and dust drift. In addition to the risk of exposure to the active chemical agent, workers who spray or deposit these agents are also at risk of solvent exposure. Solvents act as vehicles to distribute the active chemical agent.

Organic farming reduces the risk of exposure to airborne pesticides and pesticides in food that enter both plant and animal food sources through water and soil. Certified organic farmers must ensure that their seeds, crops and livestock are not at risk of exposure to pesticides via drift from neighboring non-organic farming operations. Organic farming relies on insect predators and parasites, pest disease agents, bats, insect eating birds and other predators to control unwanted pest populations. In some cases, certain organic pesticides are approved for use.

Other conventional agricultural facilities and operations that can produce air contaminants (including odors and particulate matter) are CAFOs, mill operations, smokehouses, cotton gins, and hide processing. Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are facilities in which animals such as poultry, hogs, or cows are concentrated in a relatively small area for egg laying, stabling, sleeping, milking, or feeding purposes. Animal emissions and waste from agricultural operations can collect in the surrounding water and soil, then release odors and gases including methane gas and ammonia.

 

General References
[1] Pimental, D., and L. Levitan. 1986. Pesticides: Amounts applied and amounts reaching pests. BioScience. Vol. 36. p. 86 — 91.
US EPA: Pesticides -Topical and Chemical Fact Sheets
USDA-NRCS: Air Quality and Animal Operations, Fact Sheets
EPA Pesticides (Current Information)
EPA Environmental Chemistry Methods (ECM): Pesticides – Analytical Methods and Procedures
USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS)
California ARB - EPA Compendium of Methods for the Determination of Air Pollutants
radiello® Diffusive Samplers for Air Monitoring - Products, Literature, and Application Guides

Contaminant Sources in Agriculture 

Pesticides, Herbicides, Fungicides
Organic Farming
Animal Emissions

Types of Sampling
Ambient Air
Indoor Air


Pesticides, Herbicides, Fungicides back to top

Regulations for pesticide use vary by country. In the US, it is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a result of many studies, the EPA developed toxicity ratings/class and they are required for every registered pesticide. Some pesticides are considered extremely hazardous and their use is restricted to certified users. The European Union (EU) also has legislation regarding the use of pesticides. Elsewhere in the world, the United Nations is working to improve communication with developing countries to build awareness on pesticides hazards.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates over 3 million farmers in developing countries experience severe poisoning from pesticides and another 25 million suffer mild pesticide poisoning. In the US, the EPA estimates that 10,000-20,000 physician-diagnosed pesticide poisonings occur each year among the approximately 2 million U.S. agricultural workers. Agricultural workers, groundskeepers, pet groomers, fumigators, and a variety of other occupations are at risk for exposure to pesticides including fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides, and sanitizers.

View an overview on Pesticide Classes and Exposure Hazards for commonly used pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.

Pesticides are difficult to measure in air; as a result, they are often measured as residues in food products, water/wastewater, and soil. To learn more about solid phase extraction of pesticides from food and environmental samples, view the following content under the SPE portal:
Multi-layer SPE for Pesticide Analysis
Dispersive SPE (QuEChERS)
SPE Literature and Application Notes

Sampling Media
Common methods for sampling pesticides in air include: drawing air through a 25 mm GF/A filter with a Tenax TA tube connected in series; or using an OSHA Versatile Sampler (OVS) packed with XAD-2 and a quartz or glass fiber filter (20350); or using a Polyurethane Foam (PUF) sampler.

 

Air Sampling Media by Regulatory Method
Method Contaminants of Interest Sampling Media
OSHA
OSHA 62 Organophosphorus Pesticides in Air by GC Sorbent Tube-ORBO 49P (20350)
NIOSH
NIOSH 5600 Organophosphorous Pesticides Sorbent Tube-ORBO 49P (20350), custom w/Quartz filter (49Q)
NIOSH 5601 Organonitrogen Pesticides Sorbent Tube-ORBO 49P (20350), custom w/Quartz filter (49Q)
NIOSH 5602 Chlorinated and Organonitrogen Pesticides in Air Sorbent Tube-ORBO 49P (20350), custom w/Quartz filter (49Q)
NIOSH 5603 Alachlor Filter – SDB-XC – Empore 47 mm (66884-U), or custom 25 mm
NIOSH 5606 Thiophanate-Methyl in Air Sorbent Tube-ORBO 49P (20350), custom w/Quartz filter (49Q)
EPA
EPA IP-8 Pesticides-Organochlorine PUF cartridge – ORBO-1000 (20557)
EPA TO-4A Pesticides/PCB’s (high volume) PUF cartridge – ORBO-2000 (20037)
EPA TO-10A Pesticides/PCB’s (low volume) PUF cartridge – ORBO-1000 (20557)

 

Related Products
Glass Holder for Small PUF, for use with ORBO 1000 (20556)
Glass Holder and Screen for large PUF cartridge, for use with ORBO 2000 (20563)
ORBO 2000 Stainless Steel Screen (21008-U)
PUF Plugs, Small, Pre-cleaned, pk of 3 (20600-U)
PUF Plug, Large, Pre-cleaned (20038)
Analytical Standards:
   Pesticides and Metabolites
Applications:
   Air Monitoring: Pesticides
   GC: Pesticides and Herbicides
   HPLC: Pesticides and Herbicides
   SPE
   SPME
GC Columns for Environmental Industry


Organic Farming back to top

The pesticides permitted in organic farming fall into the following predominant classes.

Minerals: These include sulfur, copper, diatomaceous earth, and clay-based materials.

Botanicals: Botanicals include common commercial materials such as rotenone, neem, and pyrethrum. Less common botanicals include quassia, equisetum, and ryania.

Soaps: A number of commercial soap-based products are effective as insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and algicides. Detergent-based products are not allowed for crop use in organic production.

Pheromones: Pheromones can be used as a means to confuse and disrupt pests during their mating cycles, or to draw them into traps.

Biologicals: One of the fastest-growing areas in pesticide development, biopesticides present some of the greatest hope for organic control of highly destructive pests. Among the most well known bio-pesticides are the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) formulations for control of lepidopterous pests and Colorado potato beetle.


Animal Emissions back to top

Animal emissions emanate from animal feedlots, waste ponds and lagoons, and land spreading of manure based fertilizers. The most commonly known animal emission is methane gas – a result of flatulence and waste from ruminant animals (cows, sheep, goats); also due to microbial degradation of organic matter. The amount of methane gas produced is directly related to the type of feed the animal receives as well as other factors such as animal type, age, etc. Other emissions of interest are ammonia from animal manure, hydrogen sulfide from degradation of sulfur containing organic matter in manure, and nitrous oxide from microbial processes via nitrification of aerobic soils and carbon dioxide.

Currently OSHA Personal Exposure Limits do not apply to Agriculture Operations – Federal Standard 29 CFR 42:38568-9

 

Air Sampling Media by Regulatory Method
Method Contaminants of Interest Sampling Media
OSHA
OSHA 7 Organic Vapors Sorbent Tube – Coconut Charcoal; ORBO-32S (20267-U)
Passive Sampling – Radiello BTEX/VOCs (RAD130)
OSHA 1008 Hydrogen Sulfide Sorbent Tube w/Reservoir – Silver Nitrate Coated Silica Gel +
  Sodium Carbonate/Glycerol coated GFF, PUF, SGW Plugs (New)
Passive Sampling – Radiello H2S (RAD170)
OSHA 1011 Sulfur Dioxide Sorbent Tube w/Reservoir – Silver Nitrate Coated Silica Gel +
  Sodium Carbonate/Glycerol coated GFF, PUF, SGW Plugs (New)
Passive Sampling – Radiello HF/NO2/SO2 (RAD166)
OSHA ID 188 Ammonia Passive Sampling- Radiello Ammonia – (RAD168) w/RAD1201
Sorbent Tube-ORBO 77 (20036)
OSHA ID 190 Nitrogen Dioxide Passive Sampling-(RAD166) w/RAD1201
Sorbent Tube-ORBO-906 ((2)TEA-coated ms w/oxidizer)) Custom
NIOSH
NIOSH 1501 Aromatic Hydrocarbons Sorbent Tube – Coconut Charcoal; ORBO-32S (20267-U)
Passive Sampling – Radiello BTEX/VOCs (RAD130)
NIOSH 6004 Sulfur Dioxide Passive Sampling – Radiello HF/NO2/SO2RAD166
Filter-MCE Filter coated with Na2CO3-ORBO 845 (Custom)
NIOSH 6013 Hydrogen Sulfide Filter - Zefluorä PTFE membrane, 0.5 mm, 25 mm(23395)
Sorbent Tube - Coconut Charcoal; ORBO-32L (20228)
Passive Sampling – Radiello H2S – RAD170
NIOSH 6014 Nitrogen Dioxide Passive Sampling-(RAD166) w/RAD1201
Sorbent Tube-ORBO-906 ((2)TEA-coated ms w/oxidizer)) Custom
NIOSH 6015 Ammonia Passive Sampling-(RAD168) w/RAD1201
Sorbent Tube-Silica Gel coated with Sulfuric Acid (Custom)
NIOSH 6016 Ammonia Passive Sampling-(RAD168) w/RAD1201
Sorbent Tube-Silica Gel coated with Sulfuric Acid (Custom)
NIOSH 6600 Nitrous Oxide Tedlar Bag-5L (24655)
NIOSH 6603 Carbon Dioxide Tedlar Bag-5L (24655)
NIOSH 6700 Nitrogen Dioxide Passive Sampling-(RAD166) w/RAD1201
ASTM
ASTM D3686 Organic Vapors Sorbent Tube – Coconut Charcoal; ORBO-32S (20267-U)
Passive Sampling-Radiello BTEX/VOCs (RAD130)
ASTM D6196 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) Thermal Desorption Tubes
EPA
EPA TO-17 Polar and non-polar VOC’s, select aldehydes Sorbent Tube – Solvent Desorption & DNPH Tubes,
   Thermal Desorption TD Tubes
Passive Sampling-Radiello BTEX/VOCs (RAD130 / RAD145)
EPA IP5B/5C Nitrogen Dioxide Passive Sampling-(RAD166) w/RAD1201

 

Related Products
Air Sampling Media by Regulatory Method
Method Contaminants of Interest Sampling Media
OSHA
OSHA 62 Organophosphorus Pesticides in Air by GC Sorbent Tube-ORBO 49P (20350)
NIOSH
NIOSH 5600 Organophosphorous Pesticides Sorbent Tube-ORBO 49P (20350), custom w/Quartz filter (49Q)
NIOSH 5601 Organonitrogen Pesticides Sorbent Tube-ORBO 49P (20350), custom w/Quartz filter (49Q)
NIOSH 5602 Chlorinated and Organonitrogen Pesticides in Air Sorbent Tube-ORBO 49P (20350), custom w/Quartz filter (49Q)
NIOSH 5603 Alachlor Filter – SDB-XC – Empore 47 mm (66884-U), or custom 25 mm
NIOSH 5606 Thiophanate-Methyl in Air Sorbent Tube-ORBO 49P (20350), custom w/Quartz filter (49Q)
EPA
EPA IP-8 Pesticides-Organochlorine PUF cartridge – ORBO-1000 (20557)
EPA TO-4A Pesticides/PCB’s (high volume) PUF cartridge – ORBO-2000 (20037)
EPA TO-10A Pesticides/PCB’s (low volume) PUF cartridge – ORBO-1000 (20557)