Gains associated with pesticide use include:

1. Economics of pesticide production:$50 billion dollar business - about 40% is exported to other countries.

2. It has been estimated that millions of lives have been saved from death through malaria, yellow fever, sleeping sickness, Black plague and typhoid

3. With respect to agriculture- 35% lost before cropping and 20% post with pesticides ; without pesticide another 8% of additional damage would occur.

The psychological damage ( non perfect fruit and vegetables) would be even greater- 20-90%

4. Forestry - millions of acres have been sprayed; Spruce budworm and gypsy moth. some contend however that these insects cycle normally and would decrease without the use of pesticides.


Cons associated with pesticide use:

1. Genetic resistance - every year the number of resistant species evolving increases

Today, nearly 275 weeds and more than 500 insects are resistant to at least one pesticide. That's more than five times the amount in 1950. And farmers lose more crops to pests today than they did in the 1940s.

2. Most chemical pesticides are nonspecific - effect a large number of species, pest and non-pest

3. Pesticides treadmill: from 1940 --> 1984 crop loss has increased from 7 --> 13% while pesticide use increased 12X. Why? with spraying we have killed the predators of the pests, and once the pest species is released from natural controls ( both no predation and no competition) their populations escalate!

4. With aerial application, only 10% reaches the crop and only 0.1%-5% reaches the targeted pest.

5. Pesticide use has threatened and continues to impact wildlife negatively.

6. Each year WHO estimates 1-5 million people have acute poisoning and die. In the US, 20,000 are estimated to suffer from some form of pesticide poisoning.

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