• Posted by: EPSD Staff

What to do if you’ve been drifted on.

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

Legal Definition of Drift: the physical movement of pesticide through the air at the time of a pesticide application from the application site to any area outside the boundaries of the application site.


By: Alex Bellotti, ESD Inspector - Yuma

People working in the agricultural industry are exposed to numerous dangers; from working on and around heavy equipment, to inclement weather, to pesticide exposure.


One of the very real dangers involves being exposed to pesticide when you’re drifted on. You can get drifted on from an aerial application, or a ground spray rig, or even getting pesticides sprinkled on you from chemigation equipment. Drift is not only a danger for people who work in agriculture. It can be a hazard if you live nearby to agricultural areas, or even if you’re just driving down a road which is near agricultural fields.

Arizona laws and regulations define drift as, "the physical movement of pesticide through the air at the time of a pesticide application from the application site to any area outside the boundaries of the application site".


So, if the pesticide was supposed to be applied to the agricultural field and some of it ended up on you, your property or your car… you have been drifted on. If you should ever be exposed, or suspect you were exposed to pesticides because you were drifted on, remember the most important thing to do is to minimize exposure. These are the steps you should take to minimize exposure:

· Get out of the area to avoid continued exposure to the pesticide.

· Remove contaminated clothing as soon as possible to avoid continued exposure from your own clothing.

· Shower with plenty of soap and water to remove any residues from your body.

· If you notice any exposure symptoms (rash, burning eyes, burning nose, itchy throat or dizziness) seek prompt medical attention.


If you know what pesticide you’ve been exposed to and decide you need medical attention, provide medical staff with the specific information of the pesticide(s) so they know what form of treatment to administer. Different pesticide formulations require different treatment methods. Provide them the name of the pesticide, the active ingredient and the EPA registration number of the product. With that information in hand, medical personnel can find the label and SDS sheets to determine the appropriate treatment method.


Once you’ve taken care of the immediate essentials to prevent continued pesticide exposure, here are some things you should also do afterwards:

· Report the incident to AZDA’s Pesticide Hotline: 1-800-423-8876

· Do not wash your clothing! Place contaminated clothing in a paper bag, keep it out of direct sunlight and turn it over to AZDA’s Investigator

· Do not wash your house or your car just yet. AZDA’s Investigators may need to get pesticide residue samples from it.


When you report a pesticide-related incident to AZDA’s Pesticide Hotline, you will not speak directly to a person right away. You must leave us a detailed message and your contact information. We will contact you shortly to get further details and begin an investigation. The investigation may take a few weeks to conclude. If we determine drift took place, the state of Arizona may assign consequences, from a warning to a monetary fine. The applicator's record will also reflect a history of drift incidents.


You may contact Alex Bellotti at: abellotti@azda.gov



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