Pesticides in Southeast Asia Environmental, Biomedical, and Ecinomic Uses and Effectsby Peter Kunstadter
This valuable collection of research by international and multidisciplinary experts explores the economic, environmental, and health benefits, as well as the harmful consequences, of pesticide use in Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Population growth, the expansion of world trade, increased demands for quantity and quality of agricultural and other commodities, and the need to control vector-borne diseases over the past sixty years have given rise to a proliferation of synthetic chemical pesticides in both developed and developing nations. Since the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962, initial enthusiasm for the easily perceived immediate benefits of pesticides has been tempered by concerns about the more subtle long-term environmental and health consequences. The use of pesticides is often justified as economically beneficial but the actual direct and indirect costs have now come into question.
Chapters include descriptions of pests and the pesticides used to control them. Authors give several perspectives on questions of safety, cost, and benefit for the environment, economy, and public health. Representatives of pesticide and commodity producers argue for the low-risk benefits of pesticides if they are properly used; research scientists present information on health and environmental consequences of the actual patterns of use by farmers; economists present data on costs and their allocation; and development agency representatives describe methods of reducing hazards through farmers' field schools and integrated pest management, and discuss the procedures and problems of international control of pesticides.
PETER KUNSTADTER has been working in northern Thailand since 1963 on a number of ethnographic, demographic, and epidemiological studies, primarily among highland minorities, in collaboration with several Thai universities. He is recently retired from the University of California, San Francisco.