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[Editorial] Phasing out harmful use of pesticides

“If we are going to live so intimately with these chemicals—eating and drinking them, taking them into the very marrow of our bones—we had better know something about their nature and their power”, wrote environmentalist Rachel Carson in 1962 in her book Silent Spring, which hauntingly described the damaging effects of indiscriminate pesticide use in agriculture on animals and people in the USA. 55 years later, a new report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food and the UN Special Rapporteur on toxics, presented to the Human Rights Council on March 7, details the health and environmental effects of excessive pesticide use globally.