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Summary and Recommendations

Pesticides are widely used to help ensure an adequate food supply as well as to protect our health and safety from unwanted pests. But despite their benefits, these chemicals are not without their problems: they pose known and potential risks to human and environmental health. Individually and collectively we need to examine our use of all forms of pesticides and consider alternatives to the use of pesticides. More research is needed to find and test less-toxic alternatives as well as to develop pesticides that do a better job targeting particular species.

Businesses, schools, institutions, and home gardeners that use pesticides should explore integrated pest management (IPM) methods to reduce pesticide use. Storage and proper disposal of pesticides also deserves special attention.

An ongoing problem is the lack of data on the use of pesticides in various sectors. States and nations should consider adopting pesticide use registries to determine the actual volume of pesticides used, and to assist in the study of pesticide-related health and environmental effects. Finally, farmworkers and other workers who apply pesticides should receive adequate training on proper handling, storage, and protective equipment.


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