Monday, April 09, 2007

School science project fallout continues

Wow, the science project involving pesticides that two high school students at Pedro Menendez High School conducted several weeks ago continues to make news near St. Augustine, FL. (See blog "Not your father'
s science project.")
Briefly, the students, apparently using protocols established by an organization known as the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA) sampled the air for traces of pesticides near South Woods Elementary School. When their project turned up evidence of dianzinon, endsulfan and triflualin the media picked up on the story, and concern about possible exposures to school children grew. The pesticides are reportedly used in nearby cabbage fields.
Soon thereafter, the St. Johns School District hired a company known as MACTEC, Jacksonville, FL, to test the air at the school grounds. After it said it had collected six samples on three different days, it reported that levels of diazinon and endosulfan were well below standards set by OSHA. And it had found no trifluralin. The principal at the elementary school said the testing confirmed that the health of the students there is not being compromised by pesticide drift.
But that hasn’t quieted the controversy. No by a long shot.
PANNA claims that the MACTEC testing and its results are based on levels of concern set for adults who work directly with pesticides, while PANNA’s critics claim that it is basing its findings based exposures to a 1-year-old child.
The Florida Department of Agriculture is reportedly looking at the results of both sets of tests, how the data was gathered at and what it means.
An article in the Sunday, April 8, St. Augustine newspaper, gives a good wrapup of what the two high school students hath wrought with their science project. Click on the headline for the article.

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