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Ecologically Based Pest Management: New Solutions for a New Century
vegetable farming. The National Cancer Institute is studying the incidence of leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among men from Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. Increased rates of cancer have been the primary health concern related to long-term occupational and dietary exposure to pesticides, but neurological, immunological, reproductive, and developmental effects are now being included in chronic risk assessments (National Research Council, 1986a, 1993b). Most recently the potential for differential risks to infants and children from exposure to pesticides has been highlighted (Guzelian et al., 1992; National Research Council, 1993b).
Since the introduction and widespread use of broad-spectrum chemical pesticides, their chronic and acute risks to human and to environmental health have been documented. The public increasingly expresses preference for pest control systems that minimize these risks.
TIME TO REASSESS AND PLAN
To ensure the availability of safe, profitable, and durable solutions to pest problems in the next century, planning must begin now. The combined effects of resistance, escalating costs of developing new compounds, and pesticide-induced pest outbreaks seriously impede agriculture's ability to manage pests economically and safely using current broad-spectrum, chemical-dominated approaches. Because growers need nontoxic and low-cost controls for pest problems, researchers have been exploring a wide range of alternative management practices, including traditional cultural controls (Ferris, 1992). Reliable, safe, economic, and ecologically responsible solutions to pest problems are likely to be readily adopted by growers; therefore, the return on public or private investment in research directed at discovering new management strategies is likely to be substantial.
Planning for the future, however, requires a vision of the needs of society and of the scientific progress required to meet those needs. Chapter 2 describes that vision and strategies for implementing this new approach to pest management.