Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 281–306

Insecticide use: Contexts and ecological consequences

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10460-007-9067-z

Cite this article as:
Devine, G.J. & Furlong, M.J. Agric Hum Values (2007) 24: 281. doi:10.1007/s10460-007-9067-z

Abstract

Constraints to the sustainability of insecticide use include effects on human health, agroecosystems (e.g., beneficial insects), the wider environment (e.g., non-target species, landscapes and communities) and the selection of insecticide-resistant traits. It is possible to find examples where insecticides have impacted disastrously on all these variables and others where the hazards posed have been (through accident or design) ameliorated. In this review, we examine what can currently be surmised about the direct and indirect long-term, field impacts of insecticides upon the environment. We detail specific examples, describe current insecticide use patterns, consider the contexts within which insecticide use occurs and discuss the role of regulation and legislation in reducing risk. We consider how insecticide use is changing in response to increasing environmental awareness and inevitably, as we discuss the main constraints to insecticide use, we suggest why they cannot easily be discarded.

Keywords

EcologyEcotoxicologyEnvironmentRiskInsecticides

Abbreviations

BSE

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy

Bt

Bacillus thuringiensis

DDT

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane

DEFRA

UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

EPA

US Environmental Protection Agency

FAO

Food and Agriculture Organization

GAO

US Government Accounting Office

IGR

Insect growth regulator

IPM

Integrated pest management

JHA

Juvenile hormone analogue

LC

Lethal concentration

LD

Lethal dose

OP

Organophosphate

ULV

Ultra low volume

UNEP

United Nations Environment Program

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant and Invertebrate Ecology DivisionRothamsted ResearchHarpenden, HertfordshireUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.School of Integrative BiologyThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia