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A Method to Measure the Environmental Impact of Pesticides


The Environmental Impact Quotient has been used to organize the extensive toxicological data available on some common fruit and vegetable pesticides into a usable form for field use. It addresses a majority of the environmental concerns that are encountered in agricultural systems including farm worker, consumer, and wildlife, health, and safety. By using the EIQ Field Use Rating, IPM practitioners and growers can incorporate environmental effects along with efficacy and cost into the pesticide decision-making process. IPM programs can also use the EIQ model as another method to measure the environmental impact of different pest management and pesticide programs. As newer biorational pesticides are marketed with lower EIQ values and more emphasis is placed on biologically based IPM practices, the EIQ field use ratings will continue to decrease. Eventually these ratings may approach zero, resulting in an environmentally neutral or benign agricultural production system.


The authors would like to thank D. A. Rutz, W. G. Smith, J. W. Gillette, R. Mungari, J. VanKirk, and D. Pimentel for their valuable input and discussions on the development of this concept and J. Nedrow for help in collecting and organizing the data. We would also like to thank K. M. Theiling for sharing the details of her database.

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