Conventional farming practices increase pesticide residues in streams

Photo Credit: Jason Burmeister Photo Credit: Jason Burmeister

Researchers published a study in Environmental Pollution this year showing that conventional farming results in increased pesticide contamination in nearby streams. The study, conducted in the rural South Island areas, compared organic, integrated, and conventional farms. Researchers found higher levels of many pesticides near conventional farms. Among those found in streams, regardless of farming practice, were some banned pesticides. These “legacy” pesticides include DDT, Chlordane, and Dieldrin, all of which have been banned for over two decades. The persistence of these chemicals has aroused global concern due to their long persistence in the environment, impact on non-target organisms, and bio-accumulation in the tissue of animals and humans via the food chain. Unfortunately, this study confirms that conventional farming practices not only result in contamination with currently used pesticides, but may have long-term environmental and health consequences.