From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
About 76,000,000 pounds (34,000 t) of atrazine were applied in the United States in 2003. The U.S. EPA said in the 2003 Interim Reregistration Eligibility Decision, "The total or national economic impact resulting from the loss of atrazine to control grass and broadleaf weeds in corn, sorghum and sugar cane would be in excess of $2 billion per year if atrazine were unavailable to growers." In the same report, it added the "yield loss plus increased herbicide cost may result in an average estimated loss of $28 per acre" if atrazine were unavailable to corn farmers.
In 2006 the EPA concluded that the triazine herbicides posed "no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infants, children or other... consumers."
EPA concluded in 2007 that atrazine does not adversely affect amphibian gonadal development based on a review of laboratory and field studies, including studies submitted by the registrant and studies published in the scientific literature. At this time, EPA believes that no additional testing is warranted to address this issue."
The use of DDT in the United States is banned, except for a limited exemption for public health uses. The ban is due in a large part to Rachael Carson's book Silent Spring. The ban on DDT is cited by scientists as a major factor in the comeback of the bald eagle in the continental United States.
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) was first passed in 1947, giving the United States Department of Agriculture responsibility for regulating pesticides. In 1972, FIFRA underwent a major revision and transferred responsibility of pesticide regulation to the Environmental Protection Agency and shifted emphasis to protection of the environment and public health.
The USDA and USFWS estimate that over 67 million birds are killed by pesticides each year in the US.
US scientists have found that some pesticides used in farming disrupt the nervous systems of frogs, and that use of these pesticides is correlated with a decline in the population of frogs in the Sierra Nevada.
Some scientists believe that certain common pesticides already exist at levels capable of killing amphibians in California. They warn that the breakdown products of these pesticides can be 10 to 100 times more toxic to amphibians than the original pesticides. Direct contact of sprays of some pesticides (either by drift from nearby applications or accidental or deliberate sprays) can be highly lethal to amphibians.
In Minnesota, pesticide use has been causally linked to congenital deformities in frogs such as eye, mouth, and limb malformations. Researchers in California found that similar deformities in frogs in the US and Canada may have been caused by breakdown products from pesticides which themselves did not pose a threat.
The Pesticide Data Program, a program started by the United States Department of Agriculture is the largest tester of pesticide residues on food sold in the United States. It began in 1991, and has since tested over 60 different types of food for over 400 different types of pesticides - with samples collected close to the point of consumption. Their most recent summary results are from the year 2005:
For example, on page 30 is comprehensive data on pesticides on fruits. Some example data:
|Fresh Fruit and|
They were also able to test for multiple pesticides within a single sample and found that:
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) used the results of nearly 43,000 tests for pesticides on produce collected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2000 and 2004, to produce a ranking of 43 commonly eaten fruits & vegetables.
The EWG list from 2012 is a "Dirty Dozen" and a "Clean 15" based on pesticide tests from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the FDA. Buying organic foods is one solution which arose in the U.S. during the 1970s. Because they are designed to withstand rain, pesticides often don't wash off with plain water or only wash off partially, and fruits and vegetables are sometimes waxed over pesticides. Fruit and vegetables should be washed with a dilute solution of vinegar or dishwashing soap which will remove most of the residues. Other pesticides go into the plant itself and can't be washed away (as in, for example, strawberries).
Plus: Green beans and Kale/greens