Thanks to misguided bureaucracy and fear mongering from environmental activists, myriad valuable products are disappearing from the marketplace. Walmart, Proctor & Gamble, and Johnson and Johnson are leading the way by following green advice to phase out a host of valuable chemical technologies because of misinformed green hype.
Pesticides—which are needed to feed a growing world population and fight vector-borne diseases—are often found on the regulatory chopping block, thanks to environmentalist scare campaigns related to both food safety and wildlife protection.
In Europe, as in the United States, pesticide regulations are driving a host of products off the market and will surely raise prices and reduce the ability of European farmers to produce food. While green groups suggest that we should fear these chemicals, what we really need to fear is their crazy policies.
A recent article in a European farmer’s publication explains how nonsensical European pesticide regulations will likely affect food production there:
“We are essentially moving towards a European regulatory system more driven by ideology than science, and that is more than a little concerning,” says John Peck, BASF’s technical lead for the UK and Northern Europe. …This new wave of legislative pressure could leave farmers with a very depleted chemistry set (see Table 1). In some cases entire crops could become uneconomic to produce; in others the use of certain pesticides may only be permitted in certain parts of the country, at certain times of the year, or on certain parts of the farm.
The article points out that such policies will reduce crop yield, dropping wheat yields by an estimated 12 percent, for example. Reduced yield creates adverse environmental impacts by demanding that more land be farmed, leaving less land for wildlife.
These trends are truly frightening to anyone who understands the value that technological development have on the quality of human life. Following the greens’ advice means we are increasingly put ourselves at greater risk under the guise of “safety” regulations.
OpenMarket.org is the staff blog of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). CEI is a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty. Our mission is to promote both freedom and fairness by making good policy good politics. We make the uncompromising case for economic freedom because we believe it is essential for entrepreneurship, innovation, and prosperity to flourish. We believe that people improve their lives not through government regulation, but by making their own choices in a free marketplace.