Risks of toxic, carcinogenic, flammable and explosive fumes

The soil fumigant Curfew was developed for application in large, open farms in rural settings. Its application at the Babe Zaharias Golf Course is a reasonably perceived health risk to local residents and to the environment.  In this densely-populated suburban community, many residences adjoin or are in very close proximity to the golf course. The drift of this pesticide is uncontrollable in direction or in distance (i.e., cannot be contained within a 30’ buffer). It can enter local yards, homes (through cracks and crevices), walkways, and streets. Fume release can occur for up to 3 days, presenting an extended risk to humans, pets, and wildlife. This includes naive golfers who are allowed to play when the course is reopened only 24 hours after application.

Pesticide drift onto others’ properties violates Florida Statute 487.031 - Prohibited acts. 13(e) Apply any pesticide directly to, or in any manner cause any pesticide to drift onto, any person or area not intended to receive the pesticide.

Click here to see the warning in the manufacturer's own product label: "high acute inhalation toxicity and carcinogenicity...Do not breathe vapor. May be fatal if inhaled...Do not apply this product in a way that will contact workers or other persons, either directly or through drift."

Pesticide drift is a health hazard as indicated by the EPA, other federal agencies, and professionals as cited below:

  • "Clearly this compound remains in air much longer than they acknowledge and will pose threats to the health of anyone living nearby."David O. Carpenter, MD, Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, A Collaborating Centre of the World Health Organization, University at Albany, University Place, Rensselaer, NY  12144
  • Click here to see the Hazardous Substance Response Sheet, including warnings: "Poisonous," "Cancer (bladder and lung)" health effects, and "Vapor is heavier than air and may travel a distance to cause a fire or explosion far from the source." (Source: New Jersey Right to Know Act).
  • Prior exposure to Curfew fumes has been documented to sicken citizens and golf course workers. Click link 1 and link 2 for a sampling of reports of adverse health effects. (Long term reports were not provided.)
  • Residential bystander exposure may occur due to single applications of 1,3-D to treated fields. HED 2007, p. 26
  • ...it is clear that there can be possible human health effects associated with the use of soil fumigant chemicals based on calculated risk estimates. HED 2007, p. 27
  • Extended period for release of fumes: United States Environmental Protection Agency - Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances April 12, 2007 1,3-Dichloropropene: HED Human Health Risk Assessment For Phase 5; DP Barcode: D337328, PC Code: 029001
    • Golf Course Fumigations - ...field volatility studies for 1,3-D indicate that peak emissions from treated fields occur up to 72 hours after application
  • Carcinogenic properties of Curfew:
    • The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that 1,3-dichloropropene may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen.
    • The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that 1,3-dichloropropene is possibly carcinogenic to humans.
    • The EPA has classified 1,3-dichloropropene as a probable human carcinogen.
  • Toxicological Profile for Dichloropropenes - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Public Health Service Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry:
    • 1.2. WHAT HAPPENS TO DICHLOROPROPENES WHEN THEY ENTER THE ENVIRONMENT? Some of the 1,3-dichloropropene in air may be washed down onto the ground, lakes, or streams by rain. 1,3-Dichloropropene is quickly broken down in air, usually within several days.  The half-life of 1,3-dichloropropene in ambient air is expected to range between 7 and 50 hours. Due to the volatility of 1,3-dichloropropene, inhalation exposure, particularly in regions where the pesticide is used commercially to fumigate soil, appears to be the major route of exposure for the general population.
    • 1.3. HOW MIGHT I BE EXPOSED TO DICHLOROPROPENES? The primary way you can be exposed to 1,3-dichloropropene is by breathing air containing it.
    • 1.7 HOW CAN FAMILIES REDUCE THE RISK OF EXPOSURE TO DICHLOROPROPENES Families can reduce their exposure to 1,3-dichloropropene by staying away from treated fields during pesticide application.
    • 6. EXPOSURE OF CHILDREN - September 2008
      • Individuals with the greatest potential for exposure to 1,3-dichloropropene include bystanders and residents located near fields treated with this fumigant who may inhale 1,3-dichloropropene that has volatilized into the air (EPA 1998).  Therefore, children who live or play near fields where 1,3-dichloropropene is applied may be exposed to this substance through inhalation.
      • Children crawl on the floor, put things in their mouths, sometimes eat inappropriate things (such as dirt or paint chips), and spend more time outdoors.  Children also are closer to the ground, and they do not use the judgment of adults to avoid hazards (NRC 1993).
      • Dichloropropene (unspecified isomers) was qualitatively identified in 1 out of 12 samples of breast milk collected from Bayonne, New Jersey; Jersey City, New Jersey; Bridgeville, Pennsylvania; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana during the late 1970s (EPA 1980; Pellizzari et al. 1982).