Bibliography Tag: pesticide use

Blair and Zahm, 1993

Blair, A., & Zahm, S. H.; “Patterns of pesticide use among farmers: implications for epidemiologic research;” Epidemiology, 1993, 4(1), 55-62; DOI: 10.1097/00001648-199301000-00011.


Epidemiologic studies of farmers have linked pesticides with certain cancers. Information on exposures from many of these studies was obtained by interview of farmers or their next-of-kin. The reliability and validity of data on pesticide use obtained by recall, often years after the event, have been questioned. Pesticide use, however, is an integral component in most agricultural operations, and the farmers’ knowledge and recall of chemicals used may be better than for many other occupations. Contrary to general belief, many farmers typically use only a few pesticides during their lifetimes and make only a few applications per year. Data from U.S. Department of Agriculture surveys indicate that herbicides are applied to wheat, corn, soybeans, and cotton and that application of insecticides to corn averages two or fewer times per year. In epidemiologic studies at the National Cancer Institute, the proportion of farmers ever reporting lifetime use of five or more different chemicals was 7% for insecticides and 20% for herbicides. Surrogate respondents have often been used in epidemiologic studies of cancer; they are able to recall pesticide use with less detail than the farmers themselves. The pesticides reported by surrogates were the same as reported by subjects themselves, but with less frequency. Comparison of reporting by cases and controls provided no evidence of case-response (differential) bias; thus, inaccurate recall of pesticide use by subjects or surrogates would tend to diminish risk estimates and dilute exposure-response gradients. FULL TEXT

Mahler et al., 2021

Mahler, B. J., Nowell, L. H., Sandstrom, M. W., Bradley, P. M., Romanok, K. M., Konrad, C. P., & Van Metre, P. C.; “Inclusion of Pesticide Transformation Products Is Key to Estimating Pesticide Exposures and Effects in Small U.S. Streams;” Environmental Science & Technology, 2021; DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c06625.


Improved analytical methods can quantify hundreds of pesticide transformation products (TPs), but understanding of TP occurrence and potential toxicity in aquatic ecosystems remains limited. We quantified 108 parent pesticides and 116 TPs in more than 3700 samples from 442 small streams in mostly urban basins across five major regions of the United States. TPs were detected nearly as frequently as parents (90 and 95% of streams, respectively); 102 TPs were detected at least once and 28 were detected in >20% samples in at least one region-TPs of 9 herbicides, 2 fungicides (chlorothalonil and thiophanate-methyl), and 1 insecticide (fipronil) were the most frequently detected. TPs occurred commonly during baseflow conditions, indicating chronic environmental TP exposures to aquatic organisms and the likely importance of groundwater as a TP source. Hazard quotients based on acute aquatic-life benchmarks for invertebrates and nonvascular plants and vertebrate-centric molecular endpoints (sublethal effects) quantify the range of the potential contribution of TPs to environmental risk and highlight several TP exposure-response data gaps. A precautionary approach using equimolar substitution of parent benchmarks or endpoints for missing TP benchmarks indicates that potential aquatic effects of pesticide TPs could be underestimated by an order of magnitude or more. FULL TEXT

Tang et al., 2021

Tang, Fiona H. M., Lenzen, Manfred, McBratney, Alexander, & Maggi, Federico; “Risk of pesticide pollution at the global scale;” Nature Geoscience, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41561-021-00712-5.


Pesticides are widely used to protect food production and meet global food demand but are also ubiquitous environmental pollutants, causing adverse effects on water quality, biodiversity and human health. Here we use a global database of pesticide applications and a spatially explicit environmental model to estimate the world geography of environmental pollution risk caused by 92 active ingredients in 168 countries. We considered a region to be at risk of pollution if pesticide residues in the environment exceeded the no-effect concentrations, and to be at high risk if residues exceeded this by three orders of magnitude. We find that 64% of global agricultural land (approximately 24.5 million km2) is at risk of pesticide pollution by more than one active ingredient, and 31% is at high risk. Among the high-risk areas, about 34% are in high-biodiversity regions, 5% in water-scarce areas and 19% in low- and lower-middle-income nations. We identify watersheds in South Africa, China, India, Australia and Argentina as high-concern regions because they have high pesticide pollution risk, bear high biodiversity and suffer from water scarcity. Our study expands earlier pesticide risk assessments as it accounts for multiple active ingredients and integrates risks in different environmental compartments at a global scale.  FULL TEXT

Epstein and Zhang, 2014

Epstein, Lynn, & Zhang, Minghua. (2014). The Impact of Integrated Pest Management Programs on Pesticide Use in California, USA. In R. Peshin & D. Pimentel (Eds.), Integrated Pest Management (pp. 173-200): Springer.


Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is often promoted to farmers as a method that can provide the most economical, sustained disease and pest control, but promoted to the public as a method to reduce agricultural pesticide use. California has a public infrastructure for supporting IPM research and implementation, largely through the University of California IPM program. California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation’s Pesticide Use Reports provide a system to track pesticide use state-wide. In practice, IPM in California is extremely pesticide-dependent, particularly in weed control and in agricultural production systems that rely on soil fumigation, such as strawberries. During our study period between 1993 and 2010, California had a decrease in use of 88 % of the highly-used pesticides listed for regulatory concern for human health. However, most of these pesticides were replaced with other chemicals rather than with non-chemical methods. We feature several case studies that illustrate key issues in California IPM: the limited progress in meeting Montreal Protocol guidelines for methyl bromide phase-out due to critical use exemptions for strawberry producers; a successful IPM program to decrease use of dormant-season organophosphates that are important water pollutants; the increase in use of neonicotinoid insecticides, which might have a role in the current bee colony collapse disorder; and the limited use of all of the commercialized microbial biocontrol agents except for Bacillus thuringiensis. FULL TEXT