Growing Public Concern Over Pesticides in Food and Water

  • Carolyn E. Sachs


Public concern about pesticides in food and water has increased dramatically in the last decade. Food-safety and water-quality issues have received increased attention by consumers and interest groups. The growth of the environmental movement and Green politics have heightened public awareness and influenced policies relating to food and water quality. At the same time that the general public and public-interest groups are more concerned with pesticides in food and water, confidence in science and government regulatory processes has eroded. Thus, a number of public-interest groups are pressing for stricter government regulation of pesticides and development of alternatives to pesticides. But chemical companies, food industries, and farmers are arguing that consumers are overreacting to the dangers of pesticides and suggesting that consumers need more education about how food is grown, why pesticides are applied, and the minimal danger pesticides pose to their health and safety. This paper documents the level of public concern about pesticide use, discusses the public’s confidence in government regulatory activity, explores the relation between science and public policy, and finally raises ethical issues relating to consumer concerns and public policy.


Government Regulation Pesticide Residue Public Concern Consumer Concern Pesticide Product 
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Copyright information

© Routledge, Chapman & Hall, Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn E. Sachs
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Rural SociologyPennsylvania State UniversityState College

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