The primary agrichemicals used in horticulture are insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides.
Their Improper use or disposal or their containers can pose a significant risk to the environment, human and animal health (e.g. skin irritants, dust inhalation, fire/explosion), and trade.
Measures have been made to reduce or eliminate agrichemicals that have significant toxicological effects, and those that persist in the environment. In response to market demands the horticulture sector has had to be proactive in implementing agrichemical risk reduction strategies. The kiwifruit and apple sectors have substantially reduced their use of “broad spectrum insecticides such as organophosphates and replaced them with selective products such as insect growth regulators (IGRs)” to more specifically target pests.
Most modern agrichemicals are considered to degrade fairly quickly in the environment, yet the main risk with using modern agrichemicals happens at the time of application and main risk is to the user.
Storage and the inappropriate disposal of historic agrichemicals also poses risks to human and animal health, soil quality and water quality of streams and groundwater.
JTS Walker and others Agrichemical application issues for growers, communities and the environment in MR Butcher, JTS Walker and M Zydenbos (eds) Future Challenges in Crop Protection: Repositioning New Zealand's Primary Industries for the Future (New Zealand Plant Protection Society Incorporated symposium 2007).
Last updated at 11:04AM on November 27, 2015