Luis Medellin and Karl Tupper set up a drift catcher in Lindsay, CA.
My radio story on pesticide drift looks at how residents in the citrus town of Lindsay are monitoring pesticides in the air and in their bodies. They are using a device called a Drift Catcher, modeled after technology used by the California Air Resources Board and the Department of Pesticide Regulation.
The pesticide drift catcher has a vacuum pump that sucks air into a glass test tube, where pesticide residues are trapped in a resin. Community members change out the test tubes and send them to a lab, where scientists crack them open, extract the residues with an organic solvent, and then analyze those extracts through gas chromatography.
The Lindsay study measures Chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that can cause headaches, blurred vision, and muscle weakness when people breathe in the air from a recently-sprayed orchard or field. Studies also show prenatal exposure MAY have effects on children’s cognitive and motor skills.
Listen to the Catching the Drift – Part Two radio report online.