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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Organic Compounds in the Environment

Field Evaluation of a New Plastic Film (Vapor Safe) to Reduce Fumigant Emissions and Improve Distribution in Soil


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 4, p. 1195-1203
    Received: Oct 8, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): ruijun.qin@ars.usda.gov
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  1. Ruijun Qin *ab,
  2. Suduan Gaoa,
  3. Husein Ajwab,
  4. David Sullivanc,
  5. Dong Wanga and
  6. Bradley D. Hansond
  1. a USDA–ARS, Water Management Research Unit, San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center, Parlier, CA 93648
    b Dep. of Plant Sciences, Univ. of California, Davis, Salinas, CA 93905
    c Sullivan Environmental Consulting, Inc., Alexandria, VA 22308
    d Dep. of Plant Sciences, Univ. of California, Davis, Davis, CA 93616. Mention of trademark, propriety product, or vendor in this paper does not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the product by the USDA–ARS nor does it imply approval to the exclusion of other products or vendors that may be suitable. Assigned to Associate Editor Mingxin Guo


Preplant soil fumigation is an important pest management practice in coastal California strawberry production regions. Potential atmospheric emissions of fumigants from field treatment, however, have drawn intensive environmental and human health concerns; increasingly stringent regulations on fumigant use have spurred research on low-emission application techniques. The objectives of this research were to determine the effects of a new low-permeability film, commonly known as totally impermeable film (TIF), on fumigant emissions and on fumigant distribution in soil. A 50/50 mixture of 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D) and chloropicrin (CP) was shank-applied at 314 kg ha−1 in two location-separate field plots (0.4 ha each) in Ventura County, California, in fall 2009. One plot was surface-covered with standard polyethylene (PE) film, and the other was covered with TIF immediately after fumigant application. Data collection included emissions, soil-gas phase concentration profile, air concentration under the film, and soil residuals of the applied fumigants. Peak emission flux of 1,3-D and CP from the TIF field was substantially lower than from the PE field. Total through-film emission loss was 2% for 1,3-D and <1% for CP from the TIF field during a 6-d film covering period, compared with 43% for 1,3-D and 12% for CP from the PE field. However, on film-cutting, greater retention of 1,3-D in the TIF field resulted in a much higher emission surge compared with the PE field, while CP emissions were fairly low in both fields. Higher concentrations and a more uniform distribution in the soil profile for 1,3-D and CP were observed under the TIF compared with the PE film, suggesting that the TIF may allow growers to achieve satisfactory pest control with lower fumigant rates. The surging 1,3-D emissions after film-cutting could result in high exposure risks to workers and bystanders and must be addressed with additional mitigation measures.

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