Pesticides: Feeding the World Essay

Pesticides: Feeding the World Essay

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Pesticides: Feeding the World


Every day, new worries arise concerning over-population and the future of earth. People are afraid of starvation and endemic diseases. The problem with present food production is not of land shortage, but of yields too low to feed a doubled world population. Plant geneticists are creating hybrid plants that have higher yields and more resistance to unwanted and harmful organisms. Even with the new plants, pesticides must be applied to reap the hybrid's full potential.

What follows is some common misconceptions about pesticides and their use. Humans ingest about 10,000 times more naturally occurring pesticides than they do man-made ones. In fact, the risk you expose yourself to by drinking a daily glass of apple juice from fruit treated with the pesticide Alar is 58 times less than the hazard of consuming natural carcinogens in one mushroom. Pesticide residues remain only on the surface of produce. They are not absorbed by fruits or vegetables. Rinsing with clear running water will remove most of any trace residues. Organic food growers often use pesticides derived from natural sources to protect their crops. Many man-made pesticides are less toxic than naturally-occurring ones. Without the availability of crop protection products, it is estimated that current world fruit and vegetable production would decline by as much as 40% and fruit and vegetable prices would increase by up to 70% (Crop Protection Institute, 1997). Even with today's technology, food production would be considerably lower and the number of individuals suffering from malnutrition would be dramatically increased if pesticides were not used.

Changes in Farming

Farming has changed and advanced incredibly in the last tw...


... middle of paper ...


...Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. (1997). The Pros and Cons of Pesticides [Online]. Available: http://www.ns.ec.gc.ca/epb/factsheets/pesticides/pro_con.html [1997, September 28].

Avery, Dennis T. (1995, June). How Pesticides Help Prevent Cancer. Consumers' Research Magazine, pp. 11-12.

Byrd, John D. Jr., Ph.D., David R. Shaw, Eric P. Webster (1997). PesticidesBenefits and Risks [Online]. http://www.ces.msstate.edu/pubs/pub1962.htm [1997, October 7].

Crop Protection Institute. (1997). Facts & History of Pesticides [Online]. http://www.cropro.org/history.html [9/16/97].

Hastings, John. (1993, September). Do Pesticides on Fruits and Vegetables Threaten Children?. Health, p. 12.

Riviere, Jim E. (1994, August 8). Stop Worrying and Eat Your Salad. Newsweek, p. 8.

Spencer, Leslie. (1993, October 25). Ban All Plants-They Pollute. Forbes, pp. 104-108.

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