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EU studies wider buffer zones

An increase in buffer zones around crops and the use of best practice in pesticide spraying could"completely avoid" the effect of spray drift on non-target organisms by 2010, says a report in the European Commission's Environment Directorate-General's newsletter, Science for Environment Policy. The report cites Dutch research published in the Journal of Environmental Health Management, which predicts that spray drift impacts could be eliminated if non-crop borders were increased to 2.25 m for potatoes (compared with the 1.5 m borders used in 2005) and 1 m for other crops (compared with 0.5 m). The study found that, despite the use of low-drift spray nozzles, the narrower borders in 2005 meant that herbicides still affected non-target organisms in 41% of areas adjacent to treated fields.

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