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Worrying about crop spraying next to house

6 replies

HolyCheese · 15/09/2009 15:19

After years thinking of moving out of London we have finally done it this summer. I am now full of anxiety about bringing up our little children next to an arable field. Stupidly I looked at Google, full of horror stories about cancer clusters and neurological disorders from the anti-pesticide campaigners and reassurances from the farming community. We have a large field which is adjacent to the house - they grew wheat this year. I did think about this before we moved and thought on balance, a few days spraying a year was better than constant traffic fumes in London. The farm is run by a contractor so the landowner can get on with his political career elsewhere. I haven't spoken to him yet although have now got his number. I felt so excited about our new life but last week the field was sprayed on very windy day and the boom made several passes on the same patch right next to the drive. Suddenly I felt we had moved out family into a worse situation and felt under siege.

Is there anyone who lives next to arable fields or who is actually a farmer who can help me stop being paranoid and start being sensible about this. All else about is great but am so worried I have been looking at Right Move again - much to DH's horror - we only moved a few weeks ago.

Assuming the farmer tells me roughly when they intend to spray and I take the children out for the day or keep them in - is that what other rural mothers do? I usually get these things in perspective more easily - shouldn't have watched Erin Brockovich again should I?!

OP posts:
thehairybabysmum · 15/09/2009 15:33

have a look on this website here

FWIW when assessing the safety of pesticides exposure to adjacent people is one of the factors looked at. If levels to bystanders are over the safe exposure limits then the chemical would not be given a licence.

Personally i would try not to be too concerned but also would keep kids in or go out for the day if spraying. Also i would contact the farmer, if he thinks you are concerned he may take extra precautions/avoidance around your property.

This is a hot potato at the moment in the farming community due to the Georgina Downs case so any sensible farmer will not want to risk statutory controls on sparaying in place of the current voluntary best practice arrangements so he should be amenable. Especially if landowner is trying to pursue a political career!!

The farmer shouldnt have sprayed if v. windy, not good practice.

HolyCheese · 15/09/2009 20:41

Thanks - am trying to get things in perspective and know all about the Georgina Downs case, court ruling and subsequent successful appeal against the ruling. I know most people in farming areas are not ill - and on balance life here is already much better for the children - never watch telly, always outside, great appetites, fascinated by nature, rockpools, etc. Not sure if I should be concerned or if I am being swallowed up by media sensationalism and actually if you steer clear of days they are actually spraying there's not much to worry about.

OP posts:
GentleOtter · 15/09/2009 20:57

We are on a farm and have arable crops, HolyCheese.
I feel it would have been mannerly for the landowner or crop sprayer to have given you advance warning (at least 48 hours) on the chemical they used and agree with thbm that it is bad practice to spray on windy days.

We don't spray much but used to let fields out to potato growers - they in turn were pretty reckless when they sprayed the potatoes so we asked them not to return here again as their spray drift wiped out a lot of the farm garden last year.

You will have to find a happy medium between the working ways of the countryside and what you have left behind in the is not always the Enid Blyton ideal and many farmers will nuke their crops to get maximum yield. Our neighbour sprays his fields with human sewage for example.

When he is spreading, I move the children out and would advise that on crop spraying days you either do similar (plus keep doors, windows closed and pets inside), remove washing from the line and go elsewhere.

thehairybabysmum · 16/09/2009 15:22

I think your last sentance sums up the correct approach HCheese. Agree there is a lot of media hype around this subject.

GOtter...the waste from sewage farms would count as ok for use on organic crops though (i think)...highlighting the reality of 'organic' food production. Not all 'non-chemical' alternatives are as good (or safe) as the idealists would have us believe.

HolyCheese · 17/09/2009 21:38

Thanks for your messages. I knew the country wasn't going to be an idyll - not all the time. The spray so far hasn't wiped out a single weed in our garden - and huge numbers of butterflies, birds etc. No dead fish in the pond and loads of frogs so assume nothing too immediately toxic flying about. Concerned about long term effects of spray but then was concerned about their old school playground being next to the North Circular. I guess at least here it's easier to avoid the 'polluted' days whereas before we just sucked it all up all day every day. But really appreciate your time. Thanks.

OP posts:
thehairybabysmum · 18/09/2009 20:59

Refreshing to see a non hysterical response to this often emotivfe subject!

Agree with you about he traffic.

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