Thank you for posting this Rue. It is interesting to hear your point of view.
I am a sprayer operator who has to spray next to many gardens and it causes me a great deal of anxiety as I realise how much spray does worry the general public.
I always try to spray a field when the wind is off peoples gardens, however this is not always possible as these sprays have to be applied in quite tight time frames.
The chemicals we use now days are not allowed to be bad for human health and in most cases will not be any where near as harmfull as the bleach you no doubt keep under your kitchen sink and spray on your work surfaces.
I spray around 5000ac every year working for a Spraying contractor, I've definitely been questioned more this last year, likely down to furlough/working from home and the multiple negative articles that seem to be on the net every other day.
I always try to slow down going past houses and gardens and pick times that the wind was ideally blowing away or pretty calm. I would be absolutely mortified if I'd inadvertently damaged someone's garden or made anyone feel uncomfortable. However needs must, and sometimes you need to get on even in less than ideal conditions especially if weather is due to break with blight spraying etc.
As an aside I've noticed some of this year's chemistry has had a very strong and distinct smell, which definitely doesn't help alleviate the public's fear of spraying!
I'm not saying the OP is wrong to raise the issue but I think that before anybody buys a house in the "countryside" they should be presented with an information pack of possible risks, noises and smells etc. With the best will in the world it isn't possible to guarantee that neighbours won't be able to small the substances we are using as we are relying on the weather to blow the right way and for timings etc.
Is the smell of the occasional ag chem any worse than living in a town near diesel and petrol fume polluted roads? I wouldn't think so. It's just one of those thngs. It'll reduce now anyway as we pass peak spraying time. I will glad as well. I am sick of loading and lathering on chemical. If I could think of a way of avoiding using them I would. Necessary evil and all that.
Go around each house and just offer to whatsapp them all the day before you spray?
If any of the chemicals used today were that lethal to human health that the diluted spray was going to wipe people out etc they would have been banned 20 years ago at least.
We get one of these kinds of threads on TFF every year. People posting to the effect that they are concerned by the effect of pesticides being used nearby, yet these will invariably be the very same people who are using household fly spray or pet treatments without a second thought after filling up their car with petrol or diesel and forgetting to wear gloves despite the fact they are handling multiple known carcinogens whilst doing so.
Asa spray operator, the main thing you should be concerned about is wiping out someone's goldfish pond with pyrethroids or having some forefront drift and wipe out their spuds. Fortunately there are ways of mitigating drift these days, hence why I liked to use a adjuvant for this exact reason when spraying grassland in the spring and summer months.
If you want to farm organically might have been better not buying a plot of land surrounded by a conventional farmer using artificial fertilisers and chemicals.I don't use Chems, I don't take meds, I eat clean. Maybe I'm odd but it's my body and my Children's too and I just want to know what it is and why we are reacting so badly to it if it is ''safe''.
A lot of things are called ''safe'' only to be discovered that they weren't at all. A lot of the time it's just all about the money. The Pharma companies want you to invest in their product.
Like I say, we're moving there to Farm organically so I'm looking at ways to protect us and our crops.
It sounds like you are a good one, mindful of drift and others.
I guess it's a case of do we all trust the manufacturers of the Chems? a bit like medicines, they're not always the greatest thing for health. You're dealing with them frequently and so are the public.
Can you tell me what these Fungicides are etc? It is a little weird smelling, and it really gets into my lungs, feels like I have a cold straight away. Most odd.
If you want to farm organically might have been better not buying a plot of land surrounded by a conventional farmer using artificial fertilisers and chemicals.
Or just live in the city or a town.
I get exposed to chemicals fairly regularly and can honestly say I have no ill affects. I take my 9 year old son spraying with me. I wouldn't do that if I thought I was putting him at risk.
Ag Chemicals get tested for 10-15 years before being approved for use I think?
Most of us have just had the covid vaccine directly injected into our bodies and it was only tested 7 months.
Like I say, we've reacted bad to it, but we were sprayed/caught in a drift so I guess that's no meant to happen.
Chemicals, fertilisers etc are expensive and we prefer to apply them to the crop we can harvest rather than the public!
Now, I'd expect to be able to smell chemical in the air without it landing on me. How so? Well, in the same way that my wife can eat a curry and do a fart *not on me at all* and a little while later I can detect it.
So if I can smell it, well that's just a bit of a pain. If the droplets actually land on me then that's a problem.
Like I said, I spray round houses. Extra sensitivity to wind; an eye on the time of day; and if needed I'll slow down and change the droplet size to make extra sure it doesn't drift.
Giving advance warning is difficult when the weather is variable. Try ringing them all at 5 am when I have finally made my mind up its a goer to get the T3 on down in the village! Better just to slip quietly by while they are all sleeping.
Well I wish it was you spraying our fields because that's very reassuring. Yeah we got misted...not good. It wasn't just once either.
Hahaha good analogy there.
Oh and I should say, they have been spraying at Lunchtime and around school run pick up time. On lovely sunny days too when we're there with the Toddler. Once was bank hol and another time was Sat lunch time. If it was done at dawn, and properly, we'd all be able to relax a little maybe.
Excellent question and a good reminder to refresh my memory of what the official Code of Practice advises:
3.7.2 When must notice be given? There may be people, authorities or organisations you need to contact before you can use the pesticide you have chosen. You should always read the label first to find out. For example: • If you apply pesticides from a helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft, by law you must give the public notice about the spraying (see annex I); • The conditions of approval for certain pesticides may contain detailed conditions for giving people notice and displaying warning notices. Y
Giving notice to bystanders and occupiers of neighbouring property By law, you do not have to leave an unsprayed buffer zone between a treated area and neighbouring property. When you spray right up to a neighbour’s boundary you increase the risk of the pesticide going onto their property. You must not allow spray to drift onto their property as the law states that any person who uses a pesticide must confine the use of that pesticide to the land, crop, structure, material or other area being treated.
If you apply pesticides as instructed on the label and follow the general advice of this code, they
should not pose a significant risk to the health of people outside the area being treated. It is a
good idea to think about the following:
• Applying pesticides may attract the attention of members of the public. Some products
have information cards to give to interested people. It is usually pesticides used in amenity
areas (such as parks) which attract most interest from the public, and it is these products
which usually have information cards;
• It is often best to be considerate to neighbours, such as spraying when people are at
work, when the school is closed, and so on;
• It is generally good practice to tell the people who occupy land, premises or houses close
to the area that you will apply pesticides to. (At the time of writing, there is no legal
obligation for you to do so);
• You may want to think about whether a sign would be the easiest way of telling people
about the pesticide used and where they can get further information. (Remember to take
the signs down afterwards.);
• You should also consider telling neighbours who grow organic or sensitive crops when you
are planning to apply a pesticide. If you are a contractor, you may want to check this point
with your employer;
• You should take particular care when applying pesticides near hospitals, schools,
retirement homes and so on. For instance, children may come to the boundary of their
play areas to watch you. In these cases, you should assess if you need to tell the person in
charge of the premises that you are going to apply pesticides and, if necessary, agree any
extra precautions that you and they should take;
• When you look at any COSHH assessment you have done, or make any other judgement
to control risks to people you think are vulnerable, your measures may include leaving an
untreated area next to the neighbouring property or changing the time of the application.
Remember, giving notice to neighbours does not remove the need for you to take
measures to control exposure.
It is good practice to record treatments made to areas close to homes or other properties which a
lot of people occupy (such as schools, residential homes, hospitals and so on). You may want to
record the date and time, name the pesticide used (including the MAPP number), refer to any
environmental or COSHH assessment made, refer to any notice given to the area or signs set up
(including when they were put up and taken down) and so on. You may also want to keep a
record of any questions you receive from your neighbours.
If someone suggests that they may have been affected by a pesticide, it is important to give
them, their advisers or the HSE full and accurate information as soon as possible (including the
full name of the product with its MAPP number, any other information such as risk and safety
phrases and medical information). This information will normally be shown on the product label.
Indeed. But I'd never start a conversation or letter with "I know my rights / subject to section blah blah blah". I mean, I'd know the codes, but I'd never state them to someone in the first instance. The first approach should be conciliatory, not legalistic. It's likely that a simple explanation will result in extra care, as we as farmers are aware that one vexed householder can soon result in twitching curtains, social media furory, etc.