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Beyond Safe Use: Challenging the international pesticide industry’s hazard reduction strategy

Douglas L. Murray, Peter L. Taylor

Report/paper, 20 pages

The pesticide industry's Global Safe Use campaign reportedly has produced a dramatic decline in pesticide-related health and environmental problems in Guatemala. This paper argues that the campaign does not live up to its claims and may actually undermine effective pesticide hazard reduction. Claims of success have overreached supporting data because of a methodological error known as ‘ecological fallacy’, the confounding of outputs with outcomes, and an insufficient appreciation of the structural rather than merely attitudinal influences on pesticide practices. The pesticide industry's own ambivalence leads it to see the pesticide problem alternatively as a problem of public perception, or as a serious health and environmental hazard. We propose an alternative approach to solving pesticide problems based on hazard reduction principles commonly found in industrial safety programmes.

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