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Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players

Common turf applications scored well below par for EPA standards, study finds

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 13, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- Residues of two insecticides widely used on golf courses do not pose a health risk, new research says.

Sevin SL (using the active ingredient carbaryl) and Dursban Pro (chlorpyrifos), when applied at the maximum U.S.-approved label rate and followed with irrigation, are of little concern to golfers, according to findings published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

"After extensive monitoring, estimated exposures to golfers following full applications of two turfgrass insecticides that are used throughout the northeastern United States were 19 to 68 times lower than levels set by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency designed to protect human health," toxicology expert John Clark, a professor of veterinary and animal sciences at University of Massachusetts Amherst, said in a news release issued by the university.

More than 100 million pounds of the active ingredients found in pesticides were applied to golf courses and residential lawns each year, according to the 1998 and 1999 Pesticide Industry Sales and Usage Report.

"Because of the large amount of time people spend in turf environments, exposure to pesticides from treated turf is a potentially significant exposure pathway," Clark said.

The test were performed on volunteers playing 76 simulated rounds of golf on a test plot of turf given eight EPA-maximum applications of chlorpyrifos and two applications of carbaryl. The volunteers clothing and urine were tested for the pesticides and their breakdown products.

More information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has more about pesticide safety.

SOURCE: University of Massachusetts, Amherst, news release, July 29, 2008
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