Pesticides & Profit

Pesticide application

There are 2 million farmers and 300 million eaters in the U.S. In between stand a handful of corporations that control how food gets from one side to the other. Whether grain traders, processors or pesticide makers, these global concerns are among the most profitable, highly subsidized and consolidated industries in the world.

Ten corporations now control half of the global seed market, there used to be hundreds. Ten companies control 90% of the global pesticide market, down from 20 companies in the late 1980s. Many of the top ten seed corporations also dominate the pesticide market, creating a chokehold on the agricultural input sector such that non-genetically engineered seeds become hard to find and they can raise prices at will. In the U.S., these powerful industries also enjoy unprecedented influence over the regulatory system tasked with protecting public health and the environment from the dangers of their products. 

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Related Publications

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Honey Bees and Pesticides: State of the Science, a 22-page report on the factors behind colony collapse disorder (CCD) with a sustained focus on the particular role of pesticides. The report documents evidence that pesticides are a key factor in explaining honey bee declines, both directly and in tandem with two leading co-factors, pathogens and poor nutrition. These studies, in U.S. and in Europe, have shown that small amounts of neonicotinoids—both alone and in combination with other... Read more
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The Syngenta corporation invented the herbicide atrazine and is its primary manufacturer. The corporation is certainly one of atrazine’s most ardent defenders and promoters. One of the most commonly detected pesticides in U.S. ground and surface water, many scientists are increasingly concerned about the human health and ecosystem impacts of atrazine. Atrazine is a known “endocrine disruptor” that is linked to reproductive harm and cancers. This report offers a review of the... Read more
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PAN summarizes the key findings from Agriculture at a Crossroads, the landmark UN report from the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). More than 400 scientists examined the successes and shortcomings of the world’s food and agricultural systems, and evaluated the impact that public agencies, agricultural research institutions and the private sector have on the well-being of farmers, farmworkers and rural communities. View... Read more
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Many U.S. residents carry toxic pesticides in their bodies at levels above what the government says are “acceptable.” Chemical Trespass: Pesticides in Our Bodies and Corporate Accountability is an analysis of pesticide-related data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a study of chemicals measured in the bodies of thousands of people nationwide. PAN explores tools for determining the accountability of pesticide corporations for residues of specific... Read more