Cultivation/Production, Health/Nutrition/Food Safety, North America, Pests and Diseases, Studies/Reports

How effective and safe are current-generation pesticides?

An article by Kayleen Schreiber and Marc Brazeau at the Genetic Literacy Project (GLP) delves into the effectiveness and safety of modern pesticides. Kayleen Schreiber is the GLP’s infographics and data visualization specialist. Marc Brazeau is the GLP’s senior contributing writer focusing on agricultural biotechnology. 

The article reveals that pesticide use has seen a significant reduction per unit of food and fiber produced, and also on a per capita basis. This reduction is attributed to the increased yield per acre of food production since 1985. The article emphasizes that while pesticide toxicity remains a concern, the toxicity levels of commonly-used pesticides have decreased over the years, and their biodegradability has improved.

The debate often centers around the use of pesticides in organic versus conventional farming, but both methods employ pesticides. The article provides a comparison of how pesticides have evolved over time, highlighting that fewer highly toxic pesticides are being used in agriculture. USDA data shows that modern pesticides are less toxic, more potent, and less persistent in the environment.

The article also touches on the environmental impact of pesticides, noting that the impact has decreased with the use of newer, less toxic pesticides.

The piece concludes by emphasizing the importance of understanding the risks and benefits of pesticides in the context of growing global food demands.

Note: This is part two of a six-part series on pesticides and food published by GLP. Read part onepart threepart fourpart five, and part six here.

Source: Generic Literacy Project (GLP). Read the full article here
Photo: Courtesy and credit GLP

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