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Pesticide Use Trends and Issues in the United States

  • Craig Osteen

Abstract

Pesticides have been used in U.S. agriculture since the late 1800s, but their use grew dramatically from the late 1940s to the early 1980s and then stabilized. The development and growing use of synthetic organic pesticides have been an integral part of a technological revolution in U.S. agriculture that increased productivity by 2.2 times between 1947 and 1988 (USDA, 1990). Growth in pesticide use has created many controversies about potential effects of pesticides on food safety, groundwater quality, worker safety, and wildlife mortality. The controversies reflect two major ideas: (1) using more pesticides is not necessarily a panacea for pest control, and (2) undesirable health or environmental effects of using some pesticides may outweigh their production benefits. Today, many people fear the risks of unknown or poorly understood hazards and are impatient with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) slow and deliberate resolution of pesticide controversies. There are also people arguing for a policy of limiting or reducing the overall level of pesticide use, which is a different approach than restricting or banning individual pesticides.

Keywords

Integrate Pest Management Pest Damage Chemical Alternative Crop Acreage Farm Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Routledge, Chapman & Hall, Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig Osteen
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Department of AgricultureEconomic Research ServiceWashington, DC

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