Date of Award

1-1-2013

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Environmental Health Sciences

First Advisor

Dwayne E Porter

Abstract

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with ensuring pesticides do not pose unreasonable adverse risks to the public and to the environment. This is a daunting task with over one billion pounds of pesticides used across the nation each year. The U.S. EPA estimates approximately 75% of all pesticide usage in the U.S. are agricultural while 25% is for home, garden, industrial, commercial, and government applications. One area of application of concern to public health and the environment regarding misuse of pesticides is in residential settings. In these instances, individuals may not have any knowledge of identifying whether they have a pest problem (i.e., pests have reached intolerable levels), the proper steps to take in determining the best solution to solve the pest problem, and measures needed to protect themselves and the surrounding area from pesticide exposure if chemical application occurs. As the nation's population continues to grow, it is imperative to learn which pesticides - as well as uses - should be accounted for in residential scenarios. Using a three county study area in coastal South Carolina, we developed a pesticide knowledgebase, a hazard-based relative cumulative ranking system for one hundred of the most commonly used pesticides, and geospatial models allowing for more informed choices regarding pesticide use and application. Implemented as an easy-to-use dynamic system of tools for residential pesticides - sccoastalpesticides.org acts an educational platform - allowing users to quickly make decisions regarding pesticides, and allowing us to educate more of the target by using a website, acting as a cost effective strategy to maximize efficiency in reaching multiple stakeholder groups.

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