Pesticide impact on the environment.
CALS Impact Statement
An obvious need for an updated and comprehensive study prompted this investigation of the complex of environmental costs resulting from the nation's dependence on pesticides. Included in this assessment of an estimated $10 billion in environmental and societal damages are analyses of: pesticide impacts on public health; livestock and livestock product losses; increased control expenses resulting from pesticide-related destruction of natural enemies and from the development of pesticide resistance in pests; crop pollination problems and honeybee losses; crop and crop product losses; bird, fish, and other wildlife losses; and governmental expenditures to reduce the environmental and social costs of the recommended application of pesticides.
We have made information available to the public and politicians that the major economic and environmental losses due to the application of pesticides in the U.S. were: public health, $1.1 billion per year, pesticide resistance in pests; $1.5 billion; crop losses caused by pesticides, $1.4 billion; bird losses due to pesticides, $2.2 billion; and groundwater contamination, $2.0 billion. An investment of about $10 billion in pesticide control each year saves approximately $40 billion in U.S. crops, based on direct costs and benefits. However, the indirect costs of pesticide use to the environment and public health need to be balanced against these benefits. Based on the available data, the environmental and public health costs of recommended pesticide use total more than $9 billion each year. Users of pesticides pay directly only about $3 billion, which includes problems arising from pesticide resistance and destruction of natural enemies. Society eventually pays this $3 billion plus the remaining $9 billion in environmental and public health costs.
Our article was published; Environmental and economic costs of the application of pesticides primarily in the United States, in Environment, Development and Sustainability (2005) 7: 229-252.
We have taken requests for dozens of radio interviews and newspaper interviews on this topic and others in 2005. The interest comes from across the United States and from several provinces in Canada. Many community groups, as well as state and local government offices have asked for our research article on pesticide impact. We have been interviewed by ABC, NBC, The Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine this year. It seems the public is hungry for information on safe and environmentally friendly food and energy supplies.