Saturday, April 19, 2008

Abstract: Household pesticides As An Environmental Justice Issue

Title: Household pesticides as an environmental justice issue: A review of the problem’s history and present policies and community action

Abstract: Health researchers have found evidence of class and racial disparities in household pesticide exposure since the late 1960s. Many explain these differences with reference to poor housing conditions, which force residents to choose between living with vermin and high levels of (often futile) chemical use. This paper traces the evolution of public policy and community action approaches to reducing indoor pesticide exposure. Residents have resisted spraying campaigns imposed by housing managers, but have also resorted to individual pesticide use. Recent lawsuits make the case that agencies such as Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency fall short of their duty to promote low-toxicity pest control methods. Activists have pressured housing agencies to involve residents in redesigning pest management campaigns and improve housing conditions overall. The paper argues that approaches which empower residents to take greater control of their housing conditions will produce the most sustainable and genuine results.

Dawn Biehler, University of British Columbia
Photo Courtesy The Early Show

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