Pesticide Controversies

Do insect and weed killers harm humans and wildlife?


Pesticides shield crops from destructive insects, weeds and molds. They also are used in homes, factories, parks and backyards to control pests that spread infectious diseases. But some public health experts, along with environmental and health advocates, argue that pesticides also threaten human health and the environment. Pesticide residues in food have decreased over the past 20 years as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reduced permissible levels in many foods and canceled use of some older pesticides. But consumer advocates warn that some products remain unsafe. Studies indicate that pesticides are contributing to widespread declines of bees, butterflies and other creatures that pollinate plants, including many food crops. The declines can drive up costs for farmers and reduce harvests of some crops. The EPA ...

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