Does Virginia Tech offer pesticide residue testing services to the public?
If not, where can I find these services? I am trying to test my water and soil for pesticides around my home.
Although we do conduct pesticide residue testing as part of our research projects, Virginia Tech no longer offers pesticide residue testing as a public service (due to budget constraints). We do still offer soil and plant nutrient testing services to the public through our local Extension offices, for a fee.
We do maintain a list of soil testing services on our website at PESTICIDELINKS.ORG. Just use the keyword = “testing” to view this list. There are a number of reputable laboratories listed there.
If you are seeking a locally available service, please consult your yellow pages under "SOIL TESTING" or "ENGINEERING SERVICES." Look for companies that do environmental site assessments for example. An ASTM-approved list is provided in the database referenced above.
A word of caution. Pesticide residue analysis is a complex and expensive process and it requires expertise to interpret the results. Samples must be collected properly to avoid contamination. To avoid high costs, you should limit the tests you are seeking to a few logical choices. Once the results are completed, you will need to consult with an expert to determine what they mean. If a pesticide is present, these tests will find it. The results can range from parts per trillion to much larger amounts. Finding a trace of something in a sample doesn't necessarily mean that the pesticide can do harm or is available to do so.