The value of the world pesticide industry grew a staggering 29% to $52 billion in 2008, according to a new report from Specialists in Business Information, an industry research firm. And even with the economic downturn and an ever-growing raft of studies demonstrating the risk to ecological and human health, that growth is expected to reach to a "multi-billion dollar crescendo" by 2013.
Like just about everything else, the world economic trouble will take some steam out of the business in 2009, but the SBI envisions our addiction to agricultural chemicals increasing over the next five years.
The trend in the U.S. mirrors the worldwide trend, with 25% growth to $21 billion in 2008 and a forecast for a $25 billion market by 2013.
The key to protecting that vast wealth potential, according to the report: protecting chemical makers' "image."
In other words, we can expect that chemical makers will continue to downplay and obscure scientific research that shows the risks of using agricultural and landscaping pesticides.
Recent studies have linked pesticide exposure to everything from the death of tadpoles (like those of the leopard frog, pictured here) to diabetes in humans. While many of the harshest chemicals have been banned, many others remain in use and several poisons banned in Europe remain legal in the United States.
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