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Release of pesticides in the environment

More than half of Denmark's area is used for agricultural activities and pesticides are used in the majority of agriculture. In the Danish Pesticide Strategy 2017 - 2021 we have chosen to use pesticides with caution and consideration with respect to nature, health, food safety and the clean Danish groundwater.

Our restrictive legislation on pesticides has a foundation on a fact-based approach where we rely on research knowledge and advice to make choices based on reason, facts and proven knowledge regarding use of pesticides. Pesticides are designed to kill specific pests but can harm other living organisms when dispersed in the environment.

Pesticides can be spread to the environment in many ways:

By spraying, application as granules, with stained seed, by brushing etc. During the spraying, the pesticides can be carried with the wind over short or long distances. Some of the pesticides may also evaporate from plants or soil surfaces. Atmospheric transport of pesticides can be of a significant size and is often carried over long distances. The pesticides can wash out with rainwater from the atmosphere, soil or building materials. They will thereby be transported to the aquatic environment where they can be found in soil water, drainage water, groundwater, streams and lakes. Finally, pesticides enter the environment by accident or illegal use.

The Department of Environmental Science is researching in pesticides' transport in water, soil and air.