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Re: weed chemicals

From: Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>

>	I believe in freedom of choice and moderation.  If a person
>chooses not to use any form of pest control, that is his right.  And, if a
>person chooses to use chemicals within the limits of the law, then he has
>the right to do so.
Exactly right, Walter.  But there is a cost involved in pesticide
use--pollution of the environment with chemicals, most of which we do not
know the effects of long-term, low-level exposure.  And there are many,
many of these out there.  What do they do in combination?  A little is
known, and it is not encouraging, such as the synergistic effects of
herbicides that transform into hormone-mimics when partially degraded by

There are costs to "organic" methods, too, such as spotty apples or reduced
cotton yields.  The problem is that these costs are borne by the producers
and the costs of pollution are borne by us all.  It's more economic in the
short run for the producer to use pesticides and herbicides. Thus without
regulation and coercion, we wind up with Garrett Hardin's "Tragedy of the

Anyway, my choice is to use pesticides as little as possible.  I hope that
some of you will consider that alternative as well.  Our little pest
problems in our gardens are a pretty small part of the big picture.

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (804)223-6374

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