Perilous pesticides

Published: Friday 15 September 2000

-- Despite international restrictions on its extensive use, pesticide trade has touched a new high. In 1998, world exports stood at US $11.4 billion, an increase of 5.4 per cent over 1997. Around 85-90 per cent of pesticides applied agriculturally never reach target organisms, but disperse through the air, soil and water thereby entering the human foodchain. Studies have linked pesticides to many diseases, including cancer. But there is hope in organic farming -- a system of farming which does not use pesticides but relies on ecological interactions to raise yields and build soil fertility. Today there are more than 7 million hectares of land under organic farming worldwide.

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