Letter: be careful with the term 'pesticide'

| 18th November 2009
Farmer spraying crops with pesticides
Using the term 'pesticides' generically can mislead and confuse

To the Editor,

Re.: GM crops causing a rise in pesticide use in US, published in the Ecologist on 17th November, 2009

I am honorary Canadian observer on the US Pesticide Working Group and found this article quite interesting.

However, I take exception to the improper use of the generic word 'pesticides' which includes all the 'cides'. The misuse of 'pesticides' in the press, especially in journals such as the Ecologist, is unacceptable and confusing.

The use of 'pesticides' as a substitute for 'insecticides' is incorrect. The meaning of the word 'pest' is very broad.

I suppose I am myself a bit of a 'pest' by bothering you about this issue.

K. Jean Cottam, PhD
Ottawa, Canada