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?
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What about animal welfare regulations in organic production?
Or soil erosion and biodiversity?
What about run-off?
What about countries with less strict regulations on conventional pesticides? Think on a global scale please!
Really appreciating SciShow and its efforts. As much as you're trying to back up with scientific papers though - should your bias not rather lean towards making the world more sustainable and ethical socially and environmentally?
Omg thank you!!!
I get caught up on both "sides" of this argument, cause I argue pesticides are bad for you, bad for ecology, but they aren't "bad", they help feed millions more people than we'd be able to without them.
Eventually, when we're able too, we WILL phase them out. With the decreasing costs of growing food indoors, which has the benefit of growing year round, with climate controls for maximum nutrition (if the grower decide to grow for that) and minimum food loss, with a more local food supply and the trade offs of lost goods and transport, it won't be long before local pesticide free (not as many, easier to control, pest problems inside) produce just shows up at your door at a cost competitive price. You can't force innovation no matter how much you try, you can only inhibit it. When the technology is ready, we'll move away from pesticides (mostly) and many people will have automated gardens like many people have printers, or do their own yard work.
Pesticides are a fantastic technology. Just like oil, they have problems people should be HONESTLY critical about, and their time is coming to a close, WHEN THE TECHNOLOGY IS READY.
Also DDT was a fantastic technology. It's also been dishonestly demonized. Like any thing, it has pros and cons and should be used in moderation. Who knows how many lives were saved from starvation or malaria due to DDT. Then we found problems and invented new technologies, that's how technology works, there's ALWAYS unintended consequences.
I have necessarily purchased many tons of commercial fertilizers and pesticides over the years for our farm's corn and soybean fields. If someone feels uneasy about them, including the declarations of scientists about their safety, I think that is well-deserved--it's just too often uninformed. I'm sorry, but I cannot tell you how many times across decades we have been assured that everything is good, that the hard lessons were learned with the DDT scare. (My grandfather stored bags and bags of DDT in the barn back in the day--it was wonderfully effective.) Has there been progress? Yes, but the truth is that some types of contamination that typically go with them cannot easily be remedied or reversed, particularly in groundwater, which wasn't mentioned. For a current example, I would suggest reviewing the long approved use of Bromacil for pineapple production in Costa Rica, finally banned by that government last year because of the consequences of its use and what has happened to the workers' communities there. Bromacil is a wonderful, US-developed and EPA-certified product, right? How could it be that bad? Yet if end consumers, mostly in Europe, had any idea of what was being required in human and environmental costs to get them cheap, conventional pineapples, would they have still bought them? If that isn't enough, how about exploring simple fertilization and the consequences that more than a century of easily-leaching chemical fertilization has had on nitrate levels in water supplies in major growing areas of the US? (ignorant organic farmers can contribute to the problem as well, but most conventional farmers will somewhat by default.) Many times with all these ag products, there is a wonderful short-term gain for a much-less-understood or announced long-term problem. https://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/nutrients/pubs/wcp_v39_no12/
It's not the worst thing out there? Really.. it's far from the best as well. Any company that intentionally conceals toxicity information should be treated with extreme caution and even prejudice.
Our environmental conditions are becoming toxic anyhow and vertical farming can do away with these things altogether. If you grow in a controlled environment you don't need pesticides, herbicides or anything artificial except for light. We can achieve the ideal results, sans anything toxic, if we are willing to pay for it.
harmful limits are usually determined by LD50 or some other obvious form of toxicity. These pesticides are not being tested for possible long term effects of low dose exposure on various metabolic systems before being released onto the market.
While there are some benefits as someone who has suffered for a lifetime as a direct result of pesticides this definitely felt overly optimistic to me. One thing you didn't mention is the effects of pesticides when it comes to birth abnormalities. In the mid 90s in the UK there was an outbreak of children born (myself included) with varying forms of anophthalmia or microanophthalmia, many of which were traced back to mothers simply living in an area near where certain pesticides had been used. Though things may be improving for many people a distrust of pesticides does not come without reason when they can cause a lifetime of medical difficulties to someone even before they're born, regardless of eating foods which have been treated with pesticides.
Nice video but you completely missed the newest cases of roundup sickness and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Also recent research from 2018 that it interferes with endocrine modulation as much much lower levels than thought, and lower levels than the supposed epa standards. Soooooo, yeah this is a new video and you are missing some
Important new data.
DDT was better than malaria and should still be allowed in places that need it. Unfortunately when the west banned it, production stopped and places like Africa were left to combat mosquitoes with nets instead of eradicating it like we did here.
Silent Spring was largely alarmist by citing how new diseases were cropping up percentage-wise...which all remaining diseases would if one major disease went down. Cancer deaths rose in a percentage because the majority of people (especially children) dying from malaria weren't anymore.
Glyphosate is a carcinogen and we throw it around like water. It also does damage to soil biota. But then we have a long history of saying chemical x is completely safe. Until years later when we we find out it most certainly is not. The "love Monsanto" in this video is stronger than the science.
We just about wiped out bedbugs in the US with DDT. It truly works great, unfortunately, it's terrible for birds :-( I can see DDT being used exclusively for bedbugs since the chance of "overspray" getting out into the environment would be minimal when used by professionals (not Joe Blow picking it up from the hardware store).
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?
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.
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!
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...
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
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.
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.
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.
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. :(
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...
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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. :(
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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