Are you aware that over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied in the US every year? Pesticides are wreaking havoc on our environment. From insecticides to plant growth regulators – pesticides are toxifying and changing the structure of the planets delicate ecosystems. Let’s learn about the environmental impacts of pesticide use.
The term pesticide covers a wide range of compounds including; insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, molluscicides, nematicides, plant growth regulators and others. With the current industrial agriculture and monocropping boom, it is clear why pesticide contamination is on the rise. For every dollar spent on pesticides, the farmer yields four dollars in crops saved – because of this, pesticides have become a staple in the US agriculture system. Unfortunately, studies show over 95% of herbicides and over 98% of insecticides sprayed do not reach the targeted pest. Instead, they end up drifting into water supplies, other farmlands and in peoples homes. Let’s learn more.
- Farmers spend approximately 10 billion dollars on pesticides in the US every year.
- Up to 70 million pounds of pesticides are wasted every year due to drift.
- Pesticide use causes biodiversity loss in soil.
- Every stream and 90% of all water wells are polluted with pesticides in the US.
- The EPA classifies many pesticides as toxic to honeybees.
- According to the World Health Organization, every year more than three million agriculture workers in the developing world are poisoned by pesticides – and 18,000 of them die.
- Depending on dose, many pesticides can cause a range of adverse effects on human health, including; cancer, acute and chronic injury to the nervous system, lung damage, reproductive dysfunction and possible dysfunction of the endocrine and immune systems.
How can I make an impact:
Action 1: Global Goodness
- Purchase organic foods. We can shift the food climate tremendously if we purchase organic and non-gmos food. When growers note a demand for organic products – the need for conventionally grown products declines. This is the most effective way to impact industrial agriculture.
- Reduce your consumption of processed foods. The majority of boxed and packaged goods contain high amounts of soy, wheat, and corn. These crops are grown with monocrop techniques and require high amounts of pesticide regulation. Instead, opt for whole foods.
Action 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1
- Reduce your pesticide use around the house. Many home landscape projects include pesticide use. Instead, research alternatives that are eco-friendly and not detrimental to your families health.
- Get an eco-friendly landscaper. Making sure companies are held accountable for their pesticides use is critical. Support companies that choose eco-friendly alternatives to pesticides.
Action 3: Earth Angel
- All of Action 1 & 2
- Support your local organic farmer.
- Contact the EPA to request increased regulations on commercial pesticide use.
- State and federal agencies should require stricter independent testing, including testing of synergistic effects of pesticides. Pesticides known or suspected of causing human health problems should be banned immediately.