Apropos Arable Applications and Allergenic Activations As…
Propositions for Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution
Prompted by Participation in Public Meeting London 25Sep04
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I also wanted to consolidate the "information point" I made from the floor on parentheses as much or more for the "public" as those advised by Tom Blundell for "science". Consensus on soundness is problematic for both of course, likewise dispositional distortion (deliberate or otherwise) but I had in mind more dissemination of dramatised dogma which in recent times has more often than not gone inversely with rigour ~ spiking I think is fashionably apt for selective slanting to secure the "right result". Speed (pejoratively safety) cameras provide a paradigm but GM-ganic, F&M, vCJD prognostications (probably also atmospheric carbon) have all furnished happy hunting grounds for careerist "epidemonologists" ~ my meldewismic moanings (via meta-moniker) meander around this morass. Sir Tom would have been the right target for this stuff but I failed to retrieve his @ddress so was hoping you'd pass on my comments just in case he's really interested.
As for the focus of your meeting, had it been an appropriate occasion I would have suggested Silsoe's presentation provided a perfect platform for positing optimal applications insofar as present low drift technologies entail bigger drops that are incompatible with not just protective efficacy but minimal residue as soil / water contaminants. I mention because there is a technology that emerged from DTI SMART Awards a decade ago which was laboratory verified at that time to possess an operational envelope ranging from halved drift with standard drops to halved drop diameters with standard drift ~ and with efficacy going mainly as interstitially rendered drop number, halved drop diameters could even imply as much as 7/8th reduction in active volume.
I cannot comment more because the extent to which these findings transfer to field performance is presently the "subjudice" subject of a DEFRA project led by others under commercial confidentiality restrictions ~ although the laboratory results have long been on the public record in international patents approved a decade ago. Well worth a thought though, being well within the interest remit portrayed at the meeting ~ ditto a further related one on the extent to which existing best practice benchmarks prescribed in so-called LERAP ratings really are relevant for optimal utilisation of noxious substances in the sense defined above ~ as minimal compromise between drifting and dumping. In giving no recognition to the morphological compliance of crop realities LERAP is unduly biased to favour dumping which is not incorporated in the approval assay ~ just another thought.
Use of chemicals to cap costs is self-evidently worthwhile in furtherance of staple crop production, whose accessibility is crucial to maintenance / restoration of dietary health amongst poorer people denied access to overpriced posh alternatives that are in any case are not more nutritionally beneficial than the conventionally sourced bulk constituting 90%+ sales at 50%- unprotected prices. Inevitable downside of course has been drift persecution for the unfortunate few who actually reside within risk range of spraying activities. My personal view would be it's a matter of common experience that neither forecasting nor modelling of wind (like weather) can adequately capture the complicated realities of statistical excursions and topographical exceptions.
With this stuff being so noxious that any direct deposition is unreasonable it seems to me an elementary answer would be to a institute a regulatory requirement stipulated spraying excluded from a quadrant or so (radiused maybe to 10s metres) with approval subject to wind vectored away from agreed vulnerable targets and in excess of some small speed (few mph) adequately accommodating inevitable localised intermittent reversals including induction by equipment turning or skew motions, etc. A very simple unambiguous rule is what's needed here, not a pile of probabilistic pontification culminating only in confused complication. There you go ~ that's it and if you like it then I'm sure you'll communicate it through the right channels, hopefully including Sir Tom at least in respect of the first point. Many thanks. Sincerely.
PS Circulating copy to a couple of people who expressed interest in the SMART technology hoping they'll get back to confirm it ~ maybe after glancing at the SA (SPRAY Aeolian) link via my meta-moniker. Thanks.
My interest stems from a decade on defence gizmos in material and dynamical issues of underwater acoustics, former on design and evaluation of non-ionic polymeric cocktails as powerful clathrating agents for stilling of surface waters, latter on their stabilisation in dispersed deepwater foams. These things deploy as monolayers and thus are truly nano unlike virtually all stuff masquerading under that pseudonym for EC moneymaking purposes.
The link to health relates to an unsuccessful bid for EC-fp2 money where interest was triggered by decay of coastal vegetation (palms particularly) in vicinity of Toulon, consistent with typical transportation ranges of marine aerosol by sea breezes (100km). Toulon hosts French nuclear submarine facilities and we conjectured non-nuclear maintenance nasties might provide a causative connection ~ and that’s why we didn’t get the money of course! Comparable concern was unofficially expressed at the time of the Sizewell Inquiry as to whether sea breeze transportation of post catastrophe radionuclide aerosol had been properly addressed ~ key here being restricted vertical dispersive dilution delivered by air flows buoyantly capped to 100m depth or so.
A further strand to this story is provided by an EC-fp5 project which I catalysed and still hold background IP for automated water watching to monitor streakiness whose density, intensity and longevity provides an index metric for ecological health of the water column in terms of biodigestive rates and capacities. This thing of course was spawned from the defence stuff, an important consequence connection being made in terms of natural biopolymeric caging and micro (nowadays nano!) layer accumulation of anthropogenic organics and metallics from industrial activities and power stations as well as more routine stuff sourced from sewage discharges and harbour operations etc.
Scavenging and concentration amplification capacities of these monolayers awesomely resides in the order of inverse fractional depths, say 10^9 for 1-10nm skins riding on 1-10m columns at least as an indicator for low solubility substances strongly partitioned by hydrophobicity (like metals and organics). Streakiness is a ubiquitous facet of all natural waterscapes and the project demonstrated reliable retrieval and extraction of these features using primitive video and algorithms although didn’t get so far as to draw the biodynamical inferences needed for commercial credibility.
The final strands in my story are the UK being a hotspot for the explosive appearance and expansion of asthma and eczema incidence since the ‘70s and the emergence of coastal vegetation stressing in East Anglia akin to that reported for the Riviera 20 years ago. My conjecture conveyed to the Asthma Society but sadly not even acknowledged is that exotic toxics routinely used in the offshore oil industry were also first introduced in the ‘70s and have been escaping ever since as inevitable trace releases during routine operations, also as leachates from seabed residues and of course from accidental escapes. Barium based muds and organic mobilisers are employed as are powerful surfactants which could serve as amplifying and transporting agents carrying sea skin concentrates shoreward via surface stress from ambient sea breezes until eventually aerosolised into breaking waves to become airborne for final phase carriage overland.
Bearing in mind that UK sea breezes drive wind patterns more days than not and their penetration has been logged to 200km inshore (ie washing the entire country) these jigsaw pieces might be thought to provide a prima facie platform deserving investigation as possible explanation for notified deteriorations in vegetative and human health. Indeed, the highest incidence of asthma and oil activity is in Scotland… just a thought, one which I’ve been touting for several years but not seen anything in print to show it’s yet been taken as seriously as seemingly deserved.
I’ll close by reminding you of the nano links here, from monolayer source through aerosol content extending to submicron residues from volatile mixtures ~ although I thought the traditional wisdoms in inhalation dynamics were that >100mic is “harmless” because of early deposition and that <10mic is “harmless” because of retained suspension. On the other hand that picture looks a tad naïve when surface active agents add hitherto neglected complications across the board from inbound transport to ultimate fate on membrane linings, especially seeing as the latter respond dynamically to such stuff used as dispersants for inhaler aerosols.
It’s a fascinating puzzle, the more so because it hasn’t yet received the recognition it seemingly deserves. My motive isn’t entirely passive ~ I’m always on the lookout for involvement in projects but being unaffiliated I need alliances with credible academics before funding agencies will even consider my ideas ~ nowadays affiliation secures success and intrinsic merit counts for nought.
Thanks for your time ~ I’ll probably miss your “debate” having seen sound scientists shredded by pop politicos in that earlier notorious thing on gemganic nonsense when FoE morons and their media mates hijacked the agenda to claim popular public support and screw the good guys. A distinguished old FRS told me afterwards the distortion destroyed his lifetime faith in communication as educational extension ~ in reality of course the public at large (ie 95%) doesn’t give a toss beyond soap and soccer, merely reflexively returning the “right” replies to Pavlovian pejorative poseurs. Democracy destroys sensibility, certainly any demanding more than an iota of scientific sophistication. So good luck Peter even though my story sits squarely on Vyvyan’s side of this fence!