Modeling atmospheric dispersion of pesticide particles in Yuma County and Maricopa County

Sunyi Yuan, Avelino Arellano, and Melissa Furlong1
Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
The University of Arizona

Pesticide particles pose a risk to public health, especially when dispersed from areas having intensive agricultural activities to population centers. Here, we investigate the transport and deposition of these particles from pesticide applications on agriculture fields in Yuma & Maricopa County, Arizona. We use CALPUFF, which is an EPA-supported atmospheric dispersion program, to simulate the time-and space-varying dispersion of these particles. We configure CALPUFF within an ensemble framework by incorporating uncertainties in key parameters that control concentration downwind. In particular, we conduct ensemble simulations by perturbing emissions, chemical lifetimes, and deposition rates, as well as key meteorological inputs (e.g., wind, temperature) in CALPUFF.  These simulations will be compared using pesticide measurements collected in 2012 in Yuma County from colleagues in the College of Public Health. Outdoor air, yard soil, and house dust values are available for 21 farm workers’ homes for pesticides such as bifenthrin and permethrin. The results are expected to help assess whether dispersion of pesticide particles will increase exposure and health risks to nearby residents.

1Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, The University of Arizona

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