Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DISCOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL PRODUCT-BASED WEED MANAGEMENT METHODS Title: Similarities between the discovery and regulation of pharmaceuticals and pesticides: in support of a better understanding of the risks and benefits of each

Authors
item Swanton, Clarence -
item Mashhadi, Hamid -
item Solomon, Keith -
item Afifi, Maha -
item Duke, Stephen

Submitted to: Pest Management Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: February 25, 2011
Publication Date: April 21, 2011
Citation: Swanton, C.J., Mashhadi, H.R., Solomon, K.R., Afifi, M.M., Duke, S.O. 2011. Similarities between the discovery and regulation of pharmaceuticals and pesticides: in support of a better understanding of the risks and benefits of each. Pest Management Science. 67:790-797.

Interpretive Summary: An argument by analogy is presented as a logical basis from which the role of pharmaceuticals and pesticides can be viewed in terms of contributing to human health. We will argue that what is true for pharmaceuticals (A) is also true for pesticides (B) and that logically if A=B then B cannot be false. Comparisons are made in terms of discovery and development, regulatory policies, environmental and human impacts. Both technologies are designed to target particular biological functions, and in many cases they target similar processes or have similar molecular sites of action. Pharmaceuticals and pesticides undergo a similar registration process, however, both can enter the environment where they can have adverse effects on non-target organisms and, if misused, will have detrimental effects on human health or the environment. We suggest that the risk associated with either technology is similar. The rejection of pesticides by the general public is based primarily on personal value systems and the uncertainty of risk management. We conclude that plant and animal health are vital to maintaining human health and that pesticides used in food production are, as with pharmaceuticals, a vital tool used to maintain human health.

Technical Abstract: An argument by analogy is presented as a logical basis from which the role of pharmaceuticals and pesticides can be viewed in terms of contributing to human health. We will argue that what is true for pharmaceuticals (A) is also true for pesticides (B) and that logically if A=B then B cannot be false. Comparisons are made in terms of discovery and development, regulatory policies, environmental and human impacts. Both technologies are designed to target particular biological functions, and in many cases they target similar processes or have similar molecular sites of action. Pharmaceuticals and pesticides undergo a similar registration process, however, both can enter the environment where they can have adverse effects on non-target organisms and, if misused, will have detrimental effects on human health or the environment. We suggest that the risk associated with either technology is similar. The rejection of pesticides by the general public is based primarily on personal value systems and the uncertainty of risk management. We conclude that plant and animal health are vital to maintaining human health and that pesticides used in food production are, as with pharmaceuticals, a vital tool used to maintain human health.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page