Identifying populations potentially exposed to agricultural pesticides using remote sensing and a Geographic Information System

Environmental Health Perspectives
By: , and 

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Abstract

Pesticides used in agriculture may cause adverse health effects among the population living near agricultural areas. However, identifying the populations most likely to be exposed is difficult. We conducted a feasibility study to determine whether satellite imagery could be used to reconstruct historical crop patterns. We used historical Farm Service Agency records as a source of ground reference data to classify a late summer 1984 satellite image into crop species in a three-county area in south central Nebraska. Residences from a population-based epidemiologic study of non-Hodgkin lymphoma were located on the crop maps using a geographic information system (GIS). Corn, soybeans, sorghum, and alfalfa were the major crops grown in the study area. Eighty-five percent of residences could be located, and of these 22% had one of the four major crops within 500 m of the residence, an intermediate distance for the range of drift effects from pesticides applied in agriculture. We determined the proximity of residences to specific crop species and calculated crop-specific probabilities of pesticide use based on available data. This feasibility study demonstrated that remote sensing data and historical records on crop location can be used to create historical crop maps. The crop pesticides that were likely to have been applied can be estimated when information about crop-specific pesticide use is available. Using a GIS, zones of potential exposure to agricultural pesticides and proximity measures can be determined for residences in a study.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Identifying populations potentially exposed to agricultural pesticides using remote sensing and a Geographic Information System
Series title Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 108
Issue 1
Year Published 2000
Language English
Publisher NIH
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 8 p.
First page 5
Last page 12
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N