Here are some facts and statistics about pesticides that will give you a better idea of how pesticides are used and some of the problems they cause.
Pesticide fact #1: Kids accumulate half of their lifetime burden of pesticides by age 5. (Shabecoff & Shabecoff, 2010, p. 76)
Pesticide fact #2: Cotton production is especially dirty. Cotton cultivation uses one-fourth of all agrochemicals and insecticides, and also requires 2 1/2 tons of water for every pound of cotton produced. (Hawken, Lovins & Hunter-Lovins, 1999)
Pesticide fact #3: Genetically engineered crops require 25% more pesticides per acre than conventional crops. Corn, soybeans, and cotton are especially pesticide intensive. (ibid)
- An estimated 82% of Americans use pesticides, double the amount who used them in 1982. All told, it’s believed families use more pesticides than agriculture does. (Shabecoff & Shabecoff, 2010)
- America consumes roughly 33% of the total pesticides used in the world; more than 40% of all herbicides, and more than 33% of insecticides. (ibid, p. 76) We’re pretty much ground zero when it comes to pesticide exposure.
- There are more than 18,000 different pesticide products in use today, made with approximately 900 different chemicals as active ingredients. The latest figures available in 2010 showed that approximately 4.5 billion pounds of pesticides were used nationwide, a more than tenfold increase (or 1,125%) since the 1960s. (Shabecoff & Shabecoff, 2010, p. 41) A 1976 report found just 124 million pounds of pesticides were used in the S. at the time (Marx, 1976), which would make current use rates around a 40-fold increase.
- Traces of 118 different pesticides can be found in pollen, beeswax, and bees. (Nordhaus, 2016)
- Between 20-30% of households in California use pest products such as roundup. (Shabecoff & Shabecoff, 2010, p. 57)
- It’s estimated that 173 million pounds of pesticides are applied in neighborhoods each year. (Gingerich-Mackenzie, 2012)
- Because conventional cotton agriculture accounts for more than 1/4 of total pesticide use, this makes the clothes you wear especially dirty for the planet. (Hart, 2007)
- The World Health Organization estimates that there are around 3 million cases of acute pesticide poisonings each year, resulting in 20,000 unintentional deaths. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries, and a large number (as much as 90% or more) involve organophosphates. (Dinham, 1993)
- There are an estimated 3,000-5,000 cases of accidental poisoning in the S. each year from organophosphates, according to the EPA. (Steenland, 1995)
- The American Association of Poison Control Centers estimates that pesticides account for around 4.2% of all accidental poisonings, or around 102,000 poisonings in the S. each year. (Gilbert, 2014)