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Water, Resources and Environment: Pesticide Drift

Pesticide Drift
Donald L. Uchtmann
June, 2000


This article (1) examines how Illinois law discourages herbicide drift, and (2) illustrates how damages from suspected herbicide drift might be pursued under Illinois law. The Illinois Pesticide Act (Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 415, Act 60) and principles of civil liability discourage herbicide drift. The Illinois Pesticide Act does so by making the irresponsible use of herbicides unlawful, and by assessing penalties of up to $10,000 for violations of the Act. The Act does not, however, provide any direct means through which an injured party can collect damages. Instead, injured parties must rely on civil liability principles and the courts to seek recovery for damages caused by suspected drift. The risk of being liable for pesticide drift encourages proper use and application of pesticides, and creates an incentive to settle pesticide drift cases out-of-court. But there is also the risk that a party will not be able to prove the case and recover compensation for suspected drift damage. An earlier version of this article was published in the Proceedings of Illinois’ 2000 Specialty Crop Conference.
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Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics    College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
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University of Illinois