A study is being conducted by researchers at Technological University Dublin (TUD) and University College Cork (UCC), which will investigate the current use of disinfectants and cleaning agents in agriculture across Ireland.

Farmers are being sought to take part in the survey, which is part of the Biosafe project, and which is being conducted by Méabh Dowler, Dr. Paul Hynds, and Dr. Jean O’Dwyer from the Environment Sustainability and Health Institute at TUD.

The information collated in this study will help researchers identify the current use of substances that destroy or inhibit the growth of bacteria, also called biocides, in Ireland, and their relationship with the environment.

What is a biocide?
A biocide can be defined as a natural or man-made substance that kills or stops the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms i.e. the main types of biocides are disinfectants, antiseptics, pesticides, etc. Prescribed medications are not considered biocides.

“The overarching objective of this survey is to make Irish agriculture safer, cost-effective, and more environmentally friendly by identifying the types, volumes, and frequency of biocide use in Irish agriculture,” a spokesperson for the research team said.

Farmers involved in livestock, mixed crops, specialised tillage, forestry, equestrian – or other – are being sought to take part.

Biocide survey

This survey is completely anonymous and the only information that will be used is collected through the questions contained within the survey, the researchers said.

Information will only be described or analysed in concurrence with all other completed surveys – no individual survey will be described or referred to.

Participation is entirely voluntary and farmers are free to decline to answer any question for any reason.

The ‘Assessing Agricultural Biocide Usage Patterns in Ireland’ questionnaire is available online and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.