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Pesticide Case Studies

A collection of case studies (mostly) from Virginia and elsewhere used to teach pesticide applicators and students the history and outcomes of pesticide misuse and the importance of regulatory compliance and commonsense. Our hope is that by sharing real life situations we can contribute to reduced events such as these and help the public understand the dynamics, which create these situations. These include: pesticide related incidents, public debates, local issues, and other scenarios related to the use of pesticides or concerns over pesticide use.

Dudley School Misuse Case

The Dudley Elementary School in Roanoke Virginia was the site of a pesticide misuse case in 2006. An applicator was cited for misapplication of a pesticide in the school. Parent reaction inflamed the situation and local news media pushed the problem to a controversy status.

In 2006, a local pesticide applicator misused malathion in a Franklin County, Virginia (Wirtz) elementary school. Dudley School officials became involved in a controversy that worried parents and became a media event for local newspapers and television media.  Some reporters got so involved in demonstrating the perceived danger of the insecticide involved, that they themselves violated pesticide laws. Although never cited, one on-the-air demonstration involved an overzealous reporter pouring concentrated malathion into a styrofoam cup and watching it melt through the cup bottom -- leaching into the soil near the school.


The applicator was eventually prosecuted and fined by the state pesticide regulators and the case was closed.  The long term impacts of the misuse were minimal, but never the less, illegal and potentially harmful.

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