Pesticide use in developing countries

Toxicology. 2001 Mar 7;160(1-3):27-33. doi: 10.1016/s0300-483x(00)00452-2.


Chemical pesticides have been a boon to equatorial, developing nations in their efforts to eradicate insect-borne, endemic diseases, to produce adequate food and to protect forests, plantations and fibre (wood, cotton, clothing, etc.). Controversy exists over the global dependence on such agents, given their excessive use/misuse, their volatility, long-distance transport and eventual environmental contamination in colder climates. Many developing countries are in transitional phases with migration of the agricultural workforce to urban centres in search of better-paying jobs, leaving fewer people responsible for raising traditional foods for themselves and for the new, industrialized workforce. Capable of growing two or three crops per year, these same countries are becoming "breadbaskets" for the world, exporting nontraditional agricultural produce to regions having colder climates and shorter growing seasons, thereby earning much needed international trade credits. To attain these goals, there has been increased reliance on chemical pesticides. Many older, nonpatented, more toxic, environmentally persistent and inexpensive chemicals are used extensively in developing nations, creating serious acute health problems and local and global environmental contamination. There is growing public concern in these countries that no one is aware of the extent of pesticide residue contamination on local, fresh produce purchased daily or of potential, long-term, adverse health effects on consumers. Few developing nations have a clearly expressed "philosophy" concerning pesticides. There is a lack of rigorous legislation and regulations to control pesticides as well as training programs for personnel to inspect and monitor use and to initiate training programs for pesticide consumers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Insect Control / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Pesticides*


  • Pesticides