NRDC Report Calls for Pesticide Phase Outs and Overhaul of
A report released on June 21 by the Natural Resources
Defense Council (NRDC) highlights serious problems with pesticide
use in the U.S., and calls for an overhaul of federal regulations
and support for pesticide use reduction and sustainable
agriculture as solutions. In conjunction with the report release,
a broad coalition of groups endorsed a "Pesticide Reform Agenda"
to change the way pesticides are used and regulated in the United
Findings of NRDC's report, After Silent Spring: The
Unsolved Problems of Pesticide Use in the United States, include:
-- Since 1964, conventional pesticide use in the U.S. has almost
doubled; total pesticide use now exceeds two billion pounds --
eight pounds for every man, woman and child in the U.S.
-- Of 107 pesticides known to cause cancer, 83 are still in use
in the U.S., 71 of them on U.S. food crops.
-- One of every ten public water supply wells in the U.S.
contains residues of at least one pesticide, and over 440,000
rural private wells contain pesticides.
-- In the past 30 years, the number of insect and mite species
resistant to pesticides has increased from 137 to 447.
The report provides a detailed critique of federal
pesticide regulations, including case studies of 10 hazardous
pesticides. NRDC argues that there is vast potential to reduce
pesticide use, citing impressive examples from the U.S. and other
countries. A study published by NRDC in 1991 found that
"pesticide use could be reduced in nine major U.S. crops by 25
to 80 percent using currently available practices including
Integrated Pest Management (IPM), biological control, and crop
rotations." The final chapter of the report recommends specific
federal initiatives to promote pesticide use reduction and
sustainable agriculture, including a national policy committing
the U.S. to these goals.
The coalition endorsing the reform agenda includes twelve
environmental, consumer, and labor groups, among them the
Farmworker Justice Fund, the National Coalition Against the
Misuse of Pesticides, the Center for Resource Economics, and the
National Audubon Society (additional groups may join). The
coalition's key recommendations are to:
-- Phase out the food uses of the most dangerous pesticides over
a specific time period.
-- Adopt a uniform statutory health-based standard for all
pesticides in all foods.
-- Encourage the development and demonstration of, and transition
to alternatives to risky pesticides through targeted research.
-- Streamline and strengthen EPA's pesticide program, improve
EPA's enforcement authority for FIFRA, and protect the public and
farmworkers from risky pesticides.
The coalition's "Pesticide Reform Agenda" states, "The
over-arching goal of these reforms should be reduced reliance on
pesticides generally, and reduced use of the riskiest pesticides
in particular, to protect the integrity of the environment."
Source: NRDC, 71 Stevenson St., San Francisco, CA 94105; phone
(415) 777-0220; fax (415) 495-5996. Copies of the report are
available for $8.95 (including postage).
Contacts at NRDC: Jennifer Curtis (see number above); Sarah
Silver (202) 783-7800; Judy Martinez (213) 892-1500.
The Pesticide Action Network Updates Service (PANUPS) is a
pesticide-related news service posted weekly by the Pesticide
Action Network North America Regional Center (PANNA RC). PANNA
RC is located at 116 New Montgomery Street, #810, San Francisco,
CA 94105.Tel: (415) 541-9140. Fax: (415) 541-9253. To receive a
standard information packet about the Pesticide Action Network
send a short e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.