What's the difference between pesticides and herbicides?
A pesticide is any chemical used by people to control pests, whether they be weeds/plants, insects/pests, bacteria/fungus. Herbicides (used to kill weeds or unwanted plants), insecticides (used to kill insects, snails, slugs, etc) and fungicides (used to kill fungus, bacteria) are all subsets of the larger group, pesticides. Therefore, they are all types of pesticides.
What's wrong with herbicides/pesticides anyway?
According to a rigorous literature review by the Ontario, Canada College of Family Physicians, exposure to the commonly used herbicides are linked to cancerous tumors, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, leukemia and genetic damage which can cause birth defects. Additional recent research has linked herbicides with pancreatic cancer.
According to Beyond Pesticides' Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database, there are at least 260 scientific studies linking various pesticides with cancer, and nearly 200 studies linking pesticides to other diseases such as Parkinson's, asthma, developmental and learning disorders and birth defects.
Are pesticides/herbicides bad for the environment?
Recent studies show that even when herbicides are applied at EPA-designated "safe" levels, they can inflict serious harm on the ecosystem when they combine with other herbicides and pesticides in runoff water.
Are there alternatives to using pesticides/herbicides that work?
San Francisco, Santa Fe and Arcata, California are among the growing numbers of cities that have eliminated or greatly reduced the use of toxic herbicides through Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM focuses on prevention and natural controls, while using toxic herbicides only as a last resort. Seattle University, Evergreen State College and Harvard Divinity School have completely eliminated herbicides from their landscape maintenance programs.
What is the Precautionary Principle?
The Precautionary Principle requires that if an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. Instead of the traditional question of, "How much harm is allowable?" the precautionary principle asks, "How little harm is possible?" The principle allows lawmakers to take precautionary measures when science cannot yet fully establish a cause-and-effect relationship, but can provide reasonable evidence of harm. Adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada regarding herbicide/pesticide use. Adopted by City of San Francisco, Los Angeles Unified School District + others.