What Is Pesticide Drift?

The EPA defines spray or dust drift as:

"the physical movement of pesticide droplets or particles through the air at the time of pesticide application or soon thereafter from the target site to any non- or off-target site. Spray drift shall not include movement of pesticides to non- or off-target sites caused by erosion, migration, volatility, or windblown soil particles that occurs after application or application of fumigants unless specifically addressed on the product label with respect to drift control requirements."

This definition is based on a definition of spray drift composed by participants of the National Coalition on Drift Minimization, which include representatives from federal (including EPA and the U. S. Department of Agriculture) and state agencies and tribes, pesticide and equipment manufacturers, university scientists, and others, who have focused their attention on enhancing pesticide applicator education, application research, and regulatory initiatives to foster reductions in spray drift. The Agency recognizes that pesticide vapor and the off-target movement of pesticides by other means, not included in this definition, can nevertheless present substantial risks to humans and the environment. EPA generally addresses these routes of exposure and associated risk at the individual pesticide level through its regulatory programs.

This definition was used in Pesticide Registration Notice (PR NOTICE 2001-X) put out by the of EPA on 12/19/01.