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Environmental Health Roundup

July 9, 2010

Are organic pesticides always better for the environment?

Transcript

Is organic always greener? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Anything labeled “organic” is assumed to be good for the environment. But researchers at the University of Guelph say that when it comes to pesticides, it’s not so simple. They compared two natural, organic pesticides to four synthetic ones. The organic choices were less effective and also much more likely to kill beneficial insects, like ladybugs, than were some of the synthetic pesticides. The authors suggest that farmers should compare products based on performance and overall environmental impact, rather than just the natural versus synthetic label.

In other environmental health news, scientists at Imperial College London analyzed nearly 1400 cases of young children with leukemia or brain cancer, and found no link between the conditions and their mom’s proximity to cell phone towers during pregnancy. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.