Out of curiosity, I checked the Internet search engine Google (http://www.Google.com) to see how many Web sites mention the word “pesticides.” I was surprised to find 8,500,000 listings (up from 2,710,000 on this date last year)! Clearly, the Internet is loaded with information about pesticides. However, like you might expect with any topic, some of this information is trash, some of it is incomprehensible (unless you’re trained in toxicology), and some of it is treasure.
This article points to several objective, easy-to-understand resources available to anyone with questions on pesticides and their effects on human health and the environment. Whether you’re an individual with a question about a specific pesticide, or a commercial pesticide applicator wanting to improve pesticide-related communications with your clients and the public, these resources should prove useful.
Written for the nontoxicologist, EXTOXNET (http://extoxnet.orst.edu/faqs/index.htm) is a cooperative effort by Extension toxicologists and chemists of five land-grant universities: University of California-Davis, Oregon State University, Michigan State University, Cornell University, and the University of Idaho. From the EXTOXNET home page you can access Pesticide Information Profiles for specific information on health and environmental effects. The Frequently Asked Questions address exposure to pesticides and other toxicants in our environment. Topics include adverse health risks, diet and cancer, food safety issues, household hazardous waste, indoor air pollution, pesticides, safe drinking water, sensitive populations, and soil (gardening and chemicals).
Purdue Pesticide Programs (http://www.btny.purdue.edu/PPP/PPP_pubs.html) does a tremendous service by producing comprehensive yet easy-to-read pesticide information. According to coordinator Dr. Fred Whitford, “These publications are written for professionals who work in government, universities, associations, and also for the general public who want to understand pesticide issues beyond the headlines.” Sample publications include these:
- Pesticides and Wildlife (PPP-30)
- Pesticide Toxicology, Evaluating Safety and Risk (PPP-40)
- Pesticides and Ecological Risk Assessment (PPP-41)
- Pesticides and Epidemiology (PPP-43)
- Pesticides and Human Health Risk Assessment (PPP-48)
- Pesticides and Risk Communication (PPP-52)
The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) is a toll-free telephone service serving any caller in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands. NPIC provides objective, science-based information about a wide variety of pesticide-related subjects, including pesticide products, recognition and management of pesticide poisoning, toxicology, risk assessment, and environmental chemistry. NPIC’s Web site (http://npic.orst.edu) is an excellent resource for these topics as well. Excluding holidays, you can call NPIC 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (CST) at 800-858-7378. You can also contact NPIC by fax (541-737-0761) or e-mail ().