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How Safe Are Pesticides, Really?

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If you’ve heard anything about pesticides, it’s probably about how toxic they are. But they make growing food more cost-effective, so when some make it into your groceries, how bad can they be? Hosted by: Olivia Gordon Head to https://scishowfinds.com/ for hand selected artifacts of the universe! ---------- Support SciShow by becoming a patron on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/scishow ---------- Dooblydoo thanks go to the following Patreon supporters: Lazarus G, Sam Lutfi, Nicholas Smith, D.A. Noe, alexander wadsworth, سلطان الخليفي, Piya Shedden, KatieMarie Magnone, Scott Satovsky Jr, Charles Southerland, Bader AlGhamdi, James Harshaw, Patrick D. Ashmore, Candy, Tim Curwick, charles george, Saul, Mark Terrio-Cameron, Viraansh Bhanushali, Kevin Bealer, Philippe von Bergen, Chris Peters, Justin Lentz ---------- Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet? Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scishow Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scishow Tumblr: http://scishow.tumblr.com Instagram: http://instagram.com/thescishow ---------- Sources: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/natural-vs-synthetic-chemicals-is-a-gray-matter/ https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/httpblogsscientificamericancomscience-sushi20110718mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/ https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2016/07/15/myth-busting-are-synthetic-pesticides-used-with-some-gmos-more-dangerous-than-natural-ones/ http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/the_kids/2014/01/organic_vs_conventional_produce_for_kids_you_don_t_need_to_fear_pesticides.html http://npic.orst.edu/ https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/FST-56.pdf https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2011/06/18/137249264/organic-pesticides-not-an-oxymoron https://www.wired.com/2012/06/arsenic-pesticides-in-our-food/ http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0011250 https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2018/01/23/usda-organic-board-proposes-approving-new-chemicals-removing-rotenone-organic-farming/ http://npic.orst.edu/capro/fruitwash.html https://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/food-and-pesticides https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/glyphosate https://gmo.geneticliteracyproject.org/FAQ/is-glyphosate-roundup-dangerous/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5515989/ https://www.nature.com/news/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer-1.17181 https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14865 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3114824/ https://aghealth.nih.gov/ https://cen.acs.org/articles/87/i7/Pinpointing-Trends-Pesticide-Use.html https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/ddt-brief-history-and-status http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/ddtgen.pdf https://iubmb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/15216540701352042 http://pubs.rsc.org/-/content/articlepdf/2017/ra/c7ra01574g?page=search https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jafc.5b05214?journalCode=jafcau Images: https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/hand-pouring-paint-soft-selective-focus-toning-gm506849822-84413759 https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/bathroom-shower-curtain-and-plastic-shampoo-bottles-gm112301408-29663668 https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/freshly-picked-apples-in-crate-gm184598591-17942142 https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/cockroaches-on-kitchen-counter-gm960008348-262159035 https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/feeding-the-world-one-seedling-at-a-time-gm642438552-116611519 https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/assortment-cabbages-on-wooden-background-gm470554193-34751904 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1955._Fort_tri-motor_spraying_DDT._Western_spruce_budworm_control_project._Powder_River_control_unit,_OR._(32213742634).jpg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Groundwater_flow.svg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sprayed_weeds.jpg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gehling_PZL-106_AR_Kruk_OTT_2013_D7N9017_009.jpg http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/image/stock-photo-person-holding-fresh-lettuce/76765397 http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/image/stock-photo-female-hands-holding-an-aubergine/450798979 http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/image/stock-photo-mangold/486826302 http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/image/stock-photo-fresh-carrots/475428104 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diabrotica_virgifera_side.jpg http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/image/stock-photo-agricultural-soy-plantation-on-sunny-day/802349002
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Text Comments (806)
Ronnie Halonen (1 day ago)
Oh, no... :(
Purpinkn H (1 day ago)
Agent orange Vietnam is still suffering
questforbalance (2 days ago)
All the toxins from DDT had to build up and kill off enough wildlife to get Rachel's attention. Then she has to take the time to write a book, get it published, and a DECADE later DDT is finally banned! But we should definitely trust the people in charge of these matters?
john doe (2 days ago)
Didn't someone just take monsanto to court with the claim that roundup caused his cancer?
Kenny Keating (2 days ago)
I hate her accent. The problem is not pesticide use, per se. It's our methods of farming and loss of diversity from monocropping. Grow your own produce.
Mel Schehr (2 days ago)
Eating is a political Act.
Shawn Owen (2 days ago)
This video would mean more if we weren't in a time when the EPA is cutting things left and right and allowing more pollution into our environment.
Bernard Gilbert (3 days ago)
This is why it is good to have some regulations, and a more capable E.P.A. to oversee things such as how and when such pesticides are applied. This also proves that this whole "natural food" idea is a great big marketing scam.
Shawn Marrier (3 days ago)
Got me so worked up I went and misspelled stalk with stall. Thanks again haters
Shawn Marrier (3 days ago)
Well I hope all you haters are happy. Olivia basically stands still like a stall in a field with no wind. Sigh...I miss the twitchy Olivia. SciShow, please feed her veggies soaked in DDT. That will get the Olivia back in the swing of it!
monkeyfuel69 (3 days ago)
Her voice is like a pesticide for my ears.
Justin Oak (3 days ago)
Wow. I can’t believe you release a lie. Roundup is highly toxic to humans.
MrTitaniumDioxide (3 days ago)
Sooo, if pesticides are definitely sickening agricultural workers, shouldn't we be suspicious that they are harmful to _all_ humans, especially infants & children? Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilizer...yummy. "Better living through chemistry" used to be a propaganda catchphrase of the petrochemical industry...
Aneko Foxx (3 days ago)
Water and vinegar are good to use to clean fruits and vegetables, too.
It’s a difficult choice, pesticides to increase crop productivity or go organic and destroy even more habitats to grow food to feed the increasing number of humans, a good cure would be to reduce the human population
ScamallDorcha (4 days ago)
I'm not afraid of pesticides killing me, I'm afraid of them killing the bees.
Julianne Gribble (4 days ago)
Loved this episode. I definitely thought it would be full on pro pesticide. I'm glad to see an honest and unbiased video unlike some other science communicators.
Bou Bobadilla (4 days ago)
I love your show. Great research, with educational and entertaining material. I am however honestly very sorry to say that Olivia Gordon’s voice, tone and accent is hard to understand and even distracting once you notice that almost all her phrases end in guttural muffled sound. Once I see that she is the host, I will only watch the video if the topic is of high interest to me, otherwise I will skip it.
Alkerae (4 days ago)
I'm drowning in the irony that people whom buy "organic" foods are just paying more to cause additional harm to the planet. Selfrighteousness is a hell of a drug.
P Cochran (4 days ago)
Great job. You completely skipped over how Silent Spring was half baked propaganda that caused millions of people to suffer from malaria that they wouldn’t have if DDT had used in a more judicious way rather then banned.
Ken O (4 days ago)
Rinsing fruit with wax on them (such as non-organic apples), would probably not remove any remaining pesticides but would remove some germs left by all who handled the produce after the wax was applied.
r3wturb0x (4 days ago)
i think monsanto paid for this video. note what she said about glyphosate. she didnt even mention that it causes cancer!
Tikola Nesla (4 days ago)
Brought to you by Monsanto........
Laura Soenens (4 days ago)
u sound like a hippy teen girl in a tv show. Interesting tho.
Mother Sloth (4 days ago)
So once again people just freak out way more about something than they ever will need to.
Elijah King (4 days ago)
She. Talks. So. Slow.
Kevinzhw Zhang wang (4 days ago)
Narrator going hard core shaking her head crazy
Maxwell Rice (5 days ago)
It's about time scishow did this. The internet needs this badly.
Chris Thomas (5 days ago)
On the point about natural things not necessarily being healthier, I always like to tell people, "I bet you wouldn't pick a poison ivy plant and eat it!"
Atharva #breakthrough (5 days ago)
Peel apples b4 eating them!
Terven James (5 days ago)
From watching hundreds of your YouTube videos Manny of which I have treat knowledge in. I conclued that most research are visibly bias.
Adrian De La Cuesta (5 days ago)
From Fun with Flags to SciShow, Amy Farrah Fowler surely knows her science.
Michele Nakamura (5 days ago)
I now have something to show my sister that insecticides on an apple won't kill her. You've given me supporting information that shows why that Apple won't kill her. This is why I love Scishow!
Hamil Patel (5 days ago)
love this, and healthcare triage. Keep up the fantastic work!
Olivier St-Amand (5 days ago)
What about the effects of pesticides runoff?
Karabetter (5 days ago)
What EPA? Under either party, the elected government officials have been bribed for the last 35 years to reduce funding so that there are intentionally not enough agents to check corporate farm's usage of pesticides to assure they are in compliance. And now, epa head was purposely selected and approved to insure the agency withers and dies. :(
piyush sao (5 days ago)
your facian expression sucks
Zye1984 (5 days ago)
Woo, that was a long one..
Rhyz Zhukov (5 days ago)
Dosent matter anyway, most food grown in the US ends up on the landfills.
Adam Greenhaus (5 days ago)
Is my boot classified as an insecticide?
Justin Friedman (5 days ago)
Brought to you by monsanto/Bayer
Saad MAFiA (5 days ago)
she looks like Anne frank.. after the gas chamber
Guccio Gucci (2 days ago)
Saad MAFiA 😂
Chase Wilkinson (5 days ago)
This video is sponsered by Monsanto/Bayer
PerunaMuayThai (5 days ago)
Scishow has been ass backwards on this topic for a while so this is refreshing to see an accurate presentation on it.
Grugg (5 days ago)
I hate the arbitrary rule organic can only use natural pesticides, it seriously limits farmers, making it harder to choose the safest option.
Sunaokami (5 days ago)
I have a masters degree in organic agriculture, and I stopped trying to explain to people that organic is not pesticide free, and that natural is not always healthier. People believe what they want to believe. No matter who explains. If a shiny commercial with a celebrity tells them something is healthy, they will eat it, even if its poison or detrimental to the environment...
Dragrath1 (5 days ago)
The agricultural issues really arise because we want to use mono culture and low genetic diversity. The strategy of modern agriculture is inherently flawed as we cripple natural defense mechanisms through soil degradation due to agribusinesses no longer using cover crops and the over reliance of fertilizers (which are the real problem TBH) Ideally we can do a lot to improve on these problems without using pesticides as a cure all after all pesticide resistance has become a real issue and will get worse so long as we keep treating them as a end all rather than the last resort they should be.
Nick Eneboe (5 days ago)
This was for real the best show ever! Period. Presenting a science-based, unbiased perspective on a topic that has so much vitriol and propaganda on both sides is seriously impressive. Thanks SciShow!
Will Fergus (5 days ago)
Can we please get an episode debunking this stupid notion that only GMO crops are patented?
Guapo Desperado (6 days ago)
What the hell scishow? Major FAIL! Way to obfuscate the risks of one of the most widely used pesticides out there, glyphosate, which IARC has just shown is a human carcinogen. People, it's obvious Scishow is way too scared or too weak to tell the truth about these kind of things. The EPA listed glyphosate (Roundup) as a carcinogen in the 90s but had to back off after Monsanto lobbyists successfully and corruptly influenced the government. Now IARC, using data from all over the world, has shown that it truly is a carcinogen and that there's no safe human level for consumption. Scishow you need to step up and tell people the truth. You constantly try to "stay out of politics" but you're undermining people's faith in your channel. You should heed Einstein's warning that the scientific community must become political lest a bunch of greedy idiots take over and doom our species, which by the way is playing out exactly as he warned us. Take a stand and be brave Scishow. People you should go see the truth about Roundup at Ring of Fire: https://youtu.be/tl4VSa0kthA
CrankyPants (6 days ago)
That was really good information. Thanks, Olivia.
Peanutsreveng3 (6 days ago)
Though it's a touch off-topic, I'd have like to have seen mention of vertical farming, with hydroponics, aeroponics, closed-loop water system and air filters right at the end, talking about the future, as such mechanisms will (whilst likely uncovering their own, new set of problems) significantly reduce the need to pesticides and particularly cut-down on run-off harms. Other than that, another typical SciShow piece, real good. Thanks Olivia and all involved x o x
Ed Goodrich (6 days ago)
You should have mentioned mosquito pesticides like BTI and BS that are biological pesticides. Mosquito abatement also employs mechanical pesticides such as using an organic (such as coconut) oil to break surface tension and essentially drown the mosquitoes.
dschonsie (6 days ago)
sounds like an ad for pesticides
JoeAceJR (6 days ago)
Pesticides are bad Gmo's are good
Lenz979 (6 days ago)
It is the same in Europe: Some of the most toxic pesticides are used in organic agriculture. Despite that, they all, also organic products, are generally safe. One thing is certain: We never had better food in the history of mankind. If it becomes a problem, then it is most likely our own fault and a sign of gluttony.
US (6 days ago)
“Compared with a Half Century Ago, People are Ingesting Fewer and & Less Dangerous Pesticides” Took me a second to realize she was talking about the 1980s and not the 1960s.
dschonsie (6 days ago)
the late 60's and not the 80's
US (6 days ago)
Do silver ions put in “microban” products count as pesticides then? 🤔
Lohmra gondein (6 days ago)
Permaculture is the way to follow.
king james488 (6 days ago)
oh ya... people are definitely using pesticides more carefully... *cough roundup ready GMOs cough*
Caleb Solis (6 days ago)
Please don't use her anymore, her voice is plodding, slow and annoying.
Cate Brooks (6 days ago)
Would you, the next time you cover this subject, let people know chlorpyrifos (which is said to cause developmental issues with humans), and similar, will be banned thanks to HI Dist. 2 Sen. Russell Ruderman, as the introducer of the bill, and Gov. Ige of HI signing the bill June 13? It was SUPPOSED to be banned in all the nation (phased out) by recommendation of the EPA under Obama, but Trump's Presidency has caused this to be thrown out. :(
jimmshorts (6 days ago)
this press assumes the EPA is trustworthy; Edward Scott Pruitt not looking out for the general public welfare.
Ching Lam Yung (6 days ago)
This is the video much needed for the organic mantra-pushing zealots out there.
Danika Groves (6 days ago)
But if it bioaccumulates in fat...wouldn't that mean it builds up in our bodies and cause harm?
johnnyreb86 (6 days ago)
SciShow I think you may have an error in the video, I have seen several legitimate sources refuting the ddt and thin egg connection, here is an excerpt from one article; “a 1970 study published in Pesticides Monitoring Journal reported that DDT residues in bird egg shells were not correlated with thinning. Numerous other feeding studies on caged birds indicate that DDT isn’t associated with egg shell thinning. In the few studies claiming to implicate DDT as the cause of thinning, the birds were fed diets that were either low in calcium, included other known egg shell-thinning substances, or that contained levels of DDT far in excess of levels that would be found in the environment – and even then, the massive doses produced much less thinning than what had been found in egg shells in the wild.”
jkorth2012 (6 days ago)
Glyphpsate is actually less toxic than baking soda, half as toxic as table salt, a third as toxic hydrogen peroxide, 29x less toxic than caffeine, and 560x less toxic than vitamin D. The aforementioned organic rotenone pesticide is anywhere from 7-49x more toxic than glyphpsate. Being in agriculture myself, no farmer ever says "I'm going to do douse my crops in chemicals and go broke doing it." The idea is to lower costs as much as possible folks, pretty simple.
Marshall Biskup (6 days ago)
jkorth2012 true that. Herbicides are expensive so use is often limited on our farm
Agnate Hellion (6 days ago)
It is odd that sci show makes a video about pesticides when one of the largest chemical companies (monsanto) is being sued for selling glyphosate aka roundup when they knew how toxic it is at almost any level! Search for the lawyer mike papantonio (who is suing the company) he has videos explaining more.
Grasshopper Main (6 days ago)
As someone that is in agriculture research, thanks for educating the public about this topic and the gmo topic in previous vids. It's quite frustrating to explain this, as people are always stuck in their beliefs or simply misinformed. There are reasonable objections, but I want those objections to be factual and true so we can fund solutions instead of some media spin job putting us behind.
Seth Woods (6 days ago)
I use to respect you guys. Do more research the thinning of egg lining for birds was proven to be crap and the Arthur had book pulled since she made it up . the real changes happened 1996
Huawei Wang (6 days ago)
This is why I love scishow
Cole Myhre (6 days ago)
Im not trying to be mean, but am I the only one who gets slightly annoyed how every last word she says in a sentence sounds poppy
Danny Danny (6 days ago)
They Paved Paradise, to Put up a Parking lot!
Eric Nash (6 days ago)
If Olivia started an ASMR channel, I would sub in an instant!
Clark Dauphin (6 days ago)
I say we dump redbull on plants. It will overload bugs with energy, killing them
Bob Jones (6 days ago)
And not a single mention of Roundup. All respect lost.
Marshall Biskup (6 days ago)
Bob Jones there was. Roundup is glyphosate. Roundup is just the trade name
Carl Fink (6 days ago)
I'm probably the only person who watched this and thought, "Why is Ms. Gordon so uncharacteristically poorly-lit, and where is her lavaliere mic? Under her hair?"
First Last (6 days ago)
Thank you for talking about both the benefits and hazards instead of only looking at limited scope of information ! Its the spirit of true science!
Ron Averyt (6 days ago)
I can't speak to other possible issues with DDT, but eggshell thinning was debunked long ago. http://www.foxnews.com/story/2006/07/06/bald-eagle-ddt-myth-still-flying-high.html
Chloé Bury (6 days ago)
I'll just say this : please do some research and produce an episode about the life of soil and permaculture. There's plenty of very interesting science on this topic (in my opinion it would be worth several episodes actually). Also, you might reconsider your mantra about how we couldn't sustain food production without pesticides.
40Kfrog (6 days ago)
This video proudly sponsored by Monsanto
Rui PTG (6 days ago)
Another issue to which the solution seems to be abolishing money.
Kayne Randolph (6 days ago)
At the creation of this video the EPA is controlled by a Monsanto lawyer and isn't to be trusted.
jhon cater (6 days ago)
why can't we use muscle relaxant spray on the plants to make the bugs sleepy ?
Dominic Salvo (6 days ago)
This video brought to you by: The Monsanto Corporation. Jk jk , you guys are awesome!
BO T (6 days ago)
Autonomus farm–robots is a future solution that is in the works. Like the very old days before pesticide work and time was cheap, but today its the oposit. The solution is small size automation with autonomy.
Argamis (SilverComet) (6 days ago)
Sponsored by Monsanto™ -> Sometimes when she moves her head around, you can see through the reflection of her glasses the 3 mugs pointing her with 9mm [if you say ONE WRONG WORD!!]
Audrey Winter (6 days ago)
Was this episode sponsored or commissioned by Monsanto? I've seen a documentary about American farmers, who had used glyphosate for a decade, showed how the very soil had died. Even Monanto's own resistant seeds couldn't take foot anymore and the loss of crops was worse than it would've been without the pesticide use...
DugThatOutMyself (4 days ago)
There have been farmers in Britain (very fertile soils) who have killed their land by overtilling. No chemicals needed to do that.
Marshall Biskup (6 days ago)
It doesnt happen. Glyphosate cant harm the soil because of how it works as a chemical. Yes it binds up in the soil but breaks down relativly fast. The dead fields may just be a result of over application. Thats why there are specific rates that the chemicals are aplied at. Just to add. Too much water will kill a field so it cant just be pinned on a chemical.
david burrus (6 days ago)
I ran tenders to sprayers Never saw a dead field.
Joseph Davies (6 days ago)
Did you ask similar questions about the financial backing of the "documentary" you watched?
Inqu'aanate (6 days ago)
Depends of the pesticide and the dose
Gereon (6 days ago)
Hello! Like if you think the same
Jessica Kakern (6 days ago)
I’m more curious about growth hormones in milk and things.
weehawk (6 days ago)
You neglected diatomaceous earth. It's a dry clay that is made up of tiny sharp fossilized diatom shells. Scientists disagree about what exactly is happening, but it somehow messes up the outer cuticle of small arthropods, which kills them by dehydrating them. It's already in wide agricultural use. It's mixed into grain stores and used various other ways. It's a mild lung irritant if it gets into the air, but otherwise it's completely safe for vertebrate consumption. Food-grade DE is so safe it can be used to de-worm even tiny kittens and puppies. It's pretty much the only insecticide that's safe to use around my parrots (as long as I don't create clouds of dust). It's not universally applicable but it's great at what it does.
Daniel Williams (6 days ago)
They did not include diatomaceous earth because it does not actually kill slugs and snails, that is a myth. If you want a pretty good and somewhat entertaining (though very small) test of the myth, check out https://www.gardenmyths.com/how-to-get-rid-of-slugs-with-diatomaceous-earth/
Aperture Laboratories (6 days ago)
Safe enough to drink - 1967
ipissed (6 days ago)
All natural, organic, gluten free, non GMO vegans TRIGGERED!
WWZenaDo (6 days ago)
The careful phrasing in this video is quite revealing... @0:58 "they're basically anything that's used to kill or control pests"... By that vague definition, my shoe would be considered a "pesticide". @4:49 "Many people assume organic food, at least as it's legally defined in the US..." Yes, a lot of offenses can slide through as "legally" defined. @7:11 "The US government carefully monitors the food supply for excess pesticide residues..." Well, it USED to, before regulations were demonized by the current free-for-all pretending to be a government.
Cosmic Blob (6 days ago)
Under Scott Pruitt the EPA is probably adding Pesticides to our food to make Scotts wife a few bucks from Russia!
mohnish vishal (6 days ago)
Amy farafowler anyone ?
Jynx C. (6 days ago)
mmm all natural arsenic pesticides >_<
Forced G+ Account (6 days ago)
Who eats fruit without washing it? (obviously not talking about stuff like bananas or oranges)
mn3m0n1c (6 days ago)
What is the amount of pesticides used in aquaponics? How does it compare to pesticide usage in traditional farming methods?

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