Pesticide Use on the Rise

Despite warnings from medical groups and food safety groups, the American agriculture sector appears ready to break new records of pesticide and chemical use, setting the stage for a showdown between environmental regulators and American farmers.

The past few years have seen an increasing attention paid to where food comes from and the quality of food bought by consumers. On the one hand, this has led to an increase in farmers markets and an increased interest in local consumption. On the other hand, this new health consciousness has led many consumers to question pesticide use and look for organic crops.

A new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics reflects these concerns and warns that childhood exposure to pesticides can be very dangerous. “There exists robust evidence linking associations between pesticide exposure and cancer – specifically brain tumors and leukemia – and ‘adverse’ neuro-development, including lowered I.Q., autism, attention disorders and hyperactivity,” the study argues.

The US Department of Agriculture is also starting to consider some pesticide regulations. Recent USDA data shows that “the average American is exposed to 10 or more pesticides every day, via diet and drinking water.” The USDA “strongly recommend[s] better regulating of pesticides because it will protect the most vulnerable – that is, farm workers, anyone of childbearing age, and especially women in their first trimester of pregnancy.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer