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Economics of Pesticide Usage

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This is part of the op-ed portion of Toxipedia where experts contribute their thoughts about environmental and public health concerns.

In the United States, $10 billion are spent on Pesticides every year. This pesticide use saves around $40 billion on crops that otherwise would be lost to pest destruction; however, the $40 billion saved does not take into account any of the negative effects that result from pesticide use. Environmental problems, public health concerns, animal poisonings, damage to adjacent crops, and many other factors contribute to a social cost of more than $12 billion in addition to the $10 billion spent on application of these Pesticides. These are the costs of only those damages that can be estimated monetarily, and the cost figures result from economic valuations of essentially non-economic things like a human life, your health, and your pet's health. Many would judge these to be invaluable. The economic damage that results from wide-spread Pesticide use is not negligible, and the negative effects of pesticide use should be highlighted, not ignored, when considering and formulating pesticide policy. 


Pimentel, David. "Environmental and Economic Costs of the Application of Pesticides Primarily in the United States." Environment, Development, and Sustainability 7, 229-252, 2005.

Pimentel, David. "Evolutionary and Environmental Impact of Pesticides." BioScience 21, p109, 1971.

Pimentel, David, H. Acquay, M. Biltonen, P. Rice, M. Silva, J. Nelson, V. Lipner, S. Giordano, A. Horowits, M. D'Amore. "Environmental and Economic Costs of Pesticide Use." BioScience 42, p750-760, 1992.

Pimentel, Lori Lach, Rodolfo Zuniga, Doug Morrison. "Envoronmental and Economic Costs of Nonindigeneous Species in the United States." BioScience 50, p53-65, 2000.

Pimentel, David, Lori McLaughlin, Andrew Zepp, Benyamin Lakitan, Tamara Kraus, Peter Kleinmann, Fabius Vancini, W. John Roach, Ellen Graap, William S. Keeton, Gabe Selig. "Environmental and Economic Effects of Reducing Pesticide Use." BioScience 41, p402-409, 1991.

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