Agricultural Economics Department


Document Type


Date of this Version



Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 4978-4990; doi:10.3390/ijerph110504978


© 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license


Agricultural producers and public health authorities apply pesticides to control pests that damage crops and carry diseases. Due to the toxic nature of most pesticides, they are regulated by governments. Regulatory provisions require pesticides to be registered and restrictions operate to safeguard human health and the environment. Yet pesticides used near surface waters pose dangers to non-target species and drinking water supplies leading some governments to regulate discharges of pesticides under pollution discharge permits. The dual registration and discharge permitting provisions are burdensome. In the United States, agricultural interest groups are advancing new legislation that would exempt pesticide residues from water permitting requirements. An analysis of the dangers posed by pesticide residues in drinking water leads to a conclusion that both pesticide registration and pollutant discharge permitting provisions are needed to protect human health and aquatic species.