Large agricultural nations, including the EU, China, and Brazil, are becoming more and more inclined to ban pesticides that pose a threat to humans and the environment, while the US maintains approval for many of the same products.
A new report published on BMC identified 500 pesticides and analyzed their approval status across the largest agricultural nations. The study found that several of the pesticides approved for use in the United States are currently banned or in the process of being banned by the EU, China, and Brazil.
The report notes that in 2016 alone, the United States used 322 million pounds of pesticides that have been banned in the EU, 26 million pounds of pesticides banned in Brazil, and 40 million pounds of pesticides banned in China. Across all agricultural nations, the EU takes the lead in the number of pesticides that have been banned, meanwhile the United States offers the worst performance in terms of pesticide regulation.
In total, the United States uses hundreds of millions of pounds of pesticides each year, many of which other countries have banned or eliminated due to their harmful effects on humans and the environment. Many of these products have been linked to pesticide poisoning, which is responsible for significant health problems and even death.
Why is the United States so far behind in banning these products? Unlike many other agricultural nations, the United States requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to receive consent from the regulation organization involved. This need for consent slows or nullifies the process of banning or eliminating harmful pesticides, leaving them available for purchase on the market. Meanwhile, more and more harmful effects are being linked to the use of numerous pesticides.
While it remains clear that the United States is significantly behind other nations in terms of pesticide regulation, it is unclear whether this will be improved upon going forward. As pesticide use remains high and more threats are being identified from these compounds, we can only hope that the elimination of these products will increase.
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