Pesticides and the Environment

About this Course

Since Silent Spring first awakened the public to the risks of pesticides, policymakers have endeavored to balance the environmental costs of pesticides with the societal benefits of an affordable food supply and control of devastating insect-borne diseases. In the past few years, a number of pesticide issues have received significant attention from the courts and the Congress, including the relationship between pesticide law and both the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. This course explores a wide range of legal and policy issues that contribute to the challenge of this balancing. Topics include: FIFRA cost/benefit analysis, "circle of poison," endangered species implications, genetically engineered pesticides, integrated pest management, endocrine disrupters, the implications of the Farm Bill for pesticide use, and special risks to children, farm workers, and cultural groups. Students will participate in two classroom simulations: a mock negotiation on an international "circle of poison" treaty and a mock EPA public hearing on a pesticide cancellation, as well as a field trip to a local organic farm.

Course number





Environmental Law