The Effect of Pesticides

This report talks about the history and the effect of pesticides on our societies according to the environmental activist Pellow.

David N. Pellow is an environmental justice activist, writer of several books on environmental topics and professor of “environmental justice studies”, “race and ethnic studies”, “social change” and “social movements faculty in environmental studies” at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

He’s well known in his environment as an activist-scholar who mostly publishes on environmental issues especially in communities of colors. Apart from a lot of books and publications on the social and environmental impacts of the U.S. and international waste management industries (garbage, pesticides, incineration, electronic computer wastes etc.) and the global social protest movement that has emerged to combat this issue, Pellow was a member of several Boards of Directors for activist organizations that seek to improve the wellness and living of under represented communities that suffer from this kind of issues.

Concerning the topic that we will discuss in this report, the author has a proper background to deal with the pesticide issue, from creation until today.


In the book titled “Resisting global toxics : transnational movements for environmental justice”, David N. Pellow is portraying and developing several topics and concepts about environmental protection, justice and activism, hazardous wastes and international relations, especially with developing countries. Thanks to this book, he’s supporting the environmental awareness cause and tries to show to his readers the origins and impacts of the issues he explains.


The main argument of Pellow’s chapter is that pesticides have not only caused a plethora of health issues, imposed upon those with disadvantages in the global South, but they have also been used to dominant lesser developed countries. Corporations of great influence export pesticides and their businesses to underdeveloped countries. This heavily impacts the health of the countries exposed to these chemicals (Pellow 156). Those living in poverty take the greatest hit, because of the medical care they are provided. All of this is a result of economic globalization. Another important point Pellow makes is that environmental activists are making efforts to eradicate pesticides, because of the argument that they “destroy life (Pellow 184).”


The export and utilization of pesticides in an underdeveloped country heavily affect the health issues of the people in their country that are exposed to these chemicals. This is shown in the reading on page 156, “Just because something is not illegal, it may still be immoral. Allowing the export of products recognized to be harmful is immoral….Developing countries do not have the medical or regulatory capacity to address the negative effects of these chemicals on their population (156 Pellow).”  If a country is incapable of addressing the medical and regulatory effects of the chemicals on the population then they shouldn’t sell it to other countries or disperse it out to their people. If something is illegal a country should not pursue this because it is not protecting its people even tho it is making them a profit. The country should realize that even though it is not illegal it still should not sell to the people or other countries because it is negatively affecting their health.


This chapter can be compared to one of the first readings we had in class. In fact it is another book written by Pellow. In his 2007 reading he wrote about global waste and the negative health and sociological effects dumping waste in the global South caused. He very much takes the same argument as this reading. We are working against our environment and each other. While environmental activists are working to fix these global issues, mainly affecting those living in poverty. Both of his writings illuminate a broader discussion about the need for more awareness when it comes to the harmful effects of pesticides and waste.


The writing of Pellow inspires new research questions because he very much takes an argument for eradicating pesticides. Although his arguments are supported, the authors opinion is evident. A question we would use to challenge his writing is, how would you argue that globally the use of pesticides has been entirely negative? The use of pesticides have kept certain crops in production and although, have negatively impacted groups of people, they have undoubtedly helped feed many.

Lilian Garfinkel

Zachary Chapins

Lauryn Hubbard

Vianney Senlecq


Sources :

Canvas file : Chapter 5, Pellow, 2017


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