ChemCentre has extensive experience in dealing with pesticides for commercial and domestic use. If you are concerned about what pesticides have been used on your garden or hobby farm, you may submit samples of soil, water or plants for analysis.
Based on the questions clients ask most frequently, our experts have collated information to help guide your decisions in proceeding with analysis.
Types of pesticides
Pesticides have been in use in domestic gardens and by commercial growers in Australia for decades. While some pesticides have been phased out to make room for new products, the chemical structure of previous pesticides mean that some are strong enough to be present in a residue form today (this is known as persistency). Pesticides can be divided into various categories, including:
Organochlorine (OC) pesticides
Developed in the 1940’s, OC pesticides were phased out in the early 1980’s. These pesticides are very persistent in soil, and residues can still be detected. OC pesticides include DDT, DDD and DDE, which have been banned from use.
Organophosphate (OP) pesticides
OP pesticides replaced OC pesticides (above), and were used mostly to control insect populations. They are less persistent than OC pesticides and are more easily broken down in the environment and the metabolism of mammals and insects.
Organonitrogen (ON) herbicides
ON herbicides, or triazines, were originally developed in the 1950’s and are still in use today.
Synthetic pyrethroids are commonly used in household insect sprays. They are easily broken down by the human metabolism but have a fast reaction on the nervous systems of insects.
Glyphosate is a weed killer commonly found in many popular brands such as Round Up®, Zero®, Weedmaster Duo®, Contact®, Strike®, No Grow® and Trounce®. It is non-specific, meaning that it will be toxic to any plant with enough foliage. Glyphosate is very difficult, but not impossible, to analyse in the laboratory because it binds strongly to soil particles.
Should you be worried about pesticides in your home environment?
Pesticides are used for food production, but there are strict regulations in place to ensure that if there is any residue, it is not in harmful levels.
Maximum residue levels are decided by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medication of Australia are in place to ensure that there is no undue hazard through exposure to pesticides.
Those most at risk are people that work with pesticides on a day to day basis. If the correct safety precautions are observed, there should be no risk. Australia maintains a high standard of Occupational Health and Safety regulations, and this protects workers that may be exposed to pesticides.
If ingested, follow the safety instructions on the pesticide label and seek immediate medical advice.
If you use pesticides on edible plants, make sure that you wash the produce before consumption.
Analysis of domestic pesticides
To have your sample analysed by ChemCentre you will need to complete a Request for Analysis form.
Please read our Terms of Analysis and note that there is a minimum charge of $500 excluding GST.
Soil analysis requires 100 to 200 grams of soil. This can be collected in a clean jar with a Teflon-lined lid.
Water samples are to be collected in one litre brown glass bottles with Teflon lined lids. Ensure that the bottle is as full as possible.
Around 100 grams of foliage is required for analysis. This can be collected in a glass jar or a plastic zip-lock bag.
Once completed, you may send the sample along with the completed Request for Analysis form to
Bldg 500, Resources and Chemistry Precinct
Cnr Townsing Drive and Manning Road
Our scientists are experts at solving those difficult chemical problems, if you have questions surrounding the sampling or analysis of pesticides please contact us.