Move to change how U.S. tracks pesticide use sparks protest

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 15:22 in Mathematics & Economics

Last year, Alan Kolok, an ecotoxicologist at the University of Idaho, published a study that found the incidence of cancer in counties across 11 western U.S. states was correlated with the use of farm chemicals called fumigants, which kill soil pests. The fine-grained analysis was feasible, he says, because a U.S. government database made timely, county-level statistics on pesticide use publicly available. Now, Kolok is one of many scientists concerned that changes to the National Pesticide Use Maps database will make it far less useful to scientists. Last month, he joined more than 250 researchers and dozens of public health and environmental groups in urging the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which oversees the database, to reconsider moves to reduce the number of chemicals it tracks and to release updates less frequently. The...

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