Geography of pesticide exposure in the Lower Valley (El Paso County, Texas)

Critina Solis Sanchez, University of Texas at El Paso


Previous studies using GIS have been used to understand the demographics of particular areas of a city and the risks associated with living there. In the Lower Valley (Socorro, Clint, and San Elizario) area of El Paso County (TX), there has been a rapid growth in population. This increase in growth has led to this project about the types of pesticides used in farms and if they are creating possible health risks for people living in this area and which populations are most at risk. To determine population risk, I use existing GIS information, specifically a USDA aerial photograph taken when crops were at full leaf, US Bureau of the Census data from 2000, and data regarding pesticide usage and crop growth gathered by myself to analyze, compare, and assess possible health risks from living, or attending school, near farm fields. I focus on five pesticides commonly used on local crops (e.g., cotton, pecans, and chiles) and the level of danger that they present to the surrounding population. In regards to the defoliant Defol 750 used on chile, the populations that are mostly at risk are Hispanics and people who are 65 years of age and over. When looking at the insecticides Lorsban 4E and Whirlwind, the populations that are most affected are non Hispanic Whites, renters, and adults 18 to 64 years of age. In regards to Roundup ProMax herbicide and Trimax Pro insecticides, the populations that are most at risk are non Hispanic Whites, renters, and adults 18 to 64 years of age. In terms of schools, nine schools are located within 300 feet of the nearest farm field, putting students and school staff at risk. We can see that there is an overall significant pattern of increased risk in regards to populations that are non Hispanic Whites, adults, and renters, as well as to schools that surround farmlands. In sum, there are a substantial amount of people at risk due to the proximity of farms that use pesticides to homes and schools in the Lower Valley.^

Subject Area

Agriculture, General|Sociology, Social Structure and Development|Environmental Sciences

Recommended Citation

Sanchez, Critina Solis, "Geography of pesticide exposure in the Lower Valley (El Paso County, Texas)" (2009). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1477827.