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J Agromedicine. 2007;12(1):67-75.

Managing pesticide chronic health risks: U.S. policies.

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  • 1Environmental Health Sciences, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 20815, USA.


This paper provides an overview of U.S. government pesticide risk management efforts over time and in recent years, relevant to chronic health risks of pesticides. Pesticides are in widespread usage in the U.S. With hundreds of active ingredients and thousands of products on the market, management of pesticide risks has been a daunting challenge. The first legislation providing federal authority for regulating pesticides was enacted in 1910. With the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and amendments to the pesticide law in 1972, the federal government was for the first time given the authority to regulate health and environmental risks of pesticides. However, older pesticide risks were not addressed until legislation was enacted in 1988, requiring "reregistration" and 1996, requiring that pesticide food standards are safe for children. In result, the U.S. has seen an expansion of development of pesticide products that are registered as "reduced risk" or are biologicals. Additionally a large number of older pesticides have been cancelled or reduced from the market and/or from individual food uses. Through biomonitoring data, the U.S. may now be seeing trends in reduction of exposure to certain pesticides, the organophosphate insecticides. However, pesticide sales data through 2001 do not provide evidence for such trends.

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