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The Ecologist March 1980: The enviromental cost of pesticides

Edward Goldsmith

March 1980

Thirty years ago this month, the Ecologist dedicated an edition to exposing the effects of pesticides on our health and the environment

A response to the increasing use of agricultural pesticides, this edition looked at the driving forces behind the increase and its biological and environmental consequences. Still a highly contentious topic even today, many of the ideas explored in this issue are as relevant as they were in 1980:

‘Some pesticides and other environmental pollutants such as PCBs, because of their water insolubility, tend to accumulate in the fatty tissues of plants and animals as they move through the “food”. For example low levels of a pesticides in water may contaminate plankton, whose fatty tissue would then accumulate higher levels of the pesticide than exist in the water environment. The pesticide would accumulate to an even greater extent in the fatty tissue of the animals feeding on the plankton…’

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