Environmental Impacts of Pesticides
In modeling non-dietary pesticide risks, we will make heavy use of the Pesticide Risk Mitigation Engine (PRiME), a state-of-the-art modeling system that produces relative rankings of pesticide risks to a range of non-target organisms including birds, fish, bees, earthworms, and small mammals.
PRiME also includes farm worker and dietary risks, based upon the FS-DRI discussed above. The PRiME system has been under development for several years by the Madison, Wisconsin-based IPM Institute. Chuck and Karen Benbrook have served as members of the PRiME management team. A system developed by the Benbrooks, the Pesticide Environmental Assessment System (PEAS), served as the starting point for PRiME.
PRiME supports sophisticated relative risk assessments of specific pesticide use patterns taking into account field and application-specific circumstances – e.g., glyphosate herbicide as a pre-plant burn-down herbicide in spring wheat production; or, an imidacloprid liquid spray applied on potatoes in mid-June at a specified rate, using a particular type of sprayer.
The accuracy of PRiME relative-risk rankings is driven in large part by the quality of the field-specific data entered into the system on a given pesticide use pattern. The M2M program will serve as a clearinghouse for PRiME-based analyses of pesticide use impacts in Washington State, and will support those wishing to work with PRiME to identify options to reduce reliance on relatively high-risk pesticides.
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