The use of chemical pest control agents undoubtedly constitutes a calculated risk; nonetheless, the proper use of these agents results in benefits which, at the present time, far outweigh the known potential hazards. Considerable care must be exercised in the selection, storage, and use of pesticide chemicals and in the disposition of the empty containers. Since virtually all pesticides are more or less toxic to man and cumulative and potentiation characteristics are not well defined, regulation through registration and the establishment of residue tolerances is essential. Scientists recognize that the adequate production and preservation of food and fiber and the protection of human health require the use of chemical pesticides. Federal, state, and local health agencies and the food and chemical industries are striving through research and residue surveillance to show the effect of pesticides on human beings and to provide alternative means of pest control. Until these chemical agents are replaced by less toxic means of control, the use of pesticides will continue. As in any scientific venture, the benefit-hazard ratio in the use of pesticides may never be completely established, but we must act on the best available evidence.

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Author notes

1Present address: Bureau of State Services, Environmental Health, Public Health Service, Washington, D. C.