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Your Environment. Your Health.

Pesticides and health: a review of evidence on health effects, valuation of risks, and benefit-cost analysis

Environmental Health Economic Analysis Annotated Bibliography


Review Cost-benefit analysis (CBA)
Tago D, Andersson H, and Treich N
Adv Health Econ Health Serv Res
This review article presented findings on the health effects of pesticide exposure, and preference valuation of health risks related to pesticides. The authors discussed policies related to pesticides, and provided an overview of benefit-cost analyses applied to pesticide regulatory measures. This review highlighted the need to clarify rationale for regulating pesticides, the role of risk perceptions in benefit-cost analysis, and the importance of inter-disciplinary research in this area.
Reviewed publications that examined: 1) individuals with direct exposure to pesticides (e.g., farmers and producers, people who spray pesticides, mix and load pesticides, sow pesticide-seeds, weed and harvest sprayed crops, and clean and dispose of pesticide containers); 2) community members with indirect exposure to pesticides (e.g., farmers' family members and people living in rural areas with intensive use of pesticides); and 3) consumers

Health Outcomes

  • Reviewed publications that examined cancer outcomes
  • neurological/cognitive outcomes (neurological deficits, children's IQ scores, Parkinson's disease)
  • behavioral outcomes (depression, suicides)
  • metabolic outcomes (diabetes, body mass index)
  • respiratory outcomes (rhinitis, asthma, bronchitis, farmer's lung, wheeze, dyspnea)
  • cardiovascular outcomes (myocardial infarction)
  • reproductive outcomes (premature/delayed menopause, delayed conception, sperm quality)
  • mechanistic outcomes (endocrine performance, women-specific hormonal disorders)
  • thyroid dysfunction
  • liver outcomes (hepatitis)
  • birth outcomes (birth weight, fetal growth)
  • other general health outcomes (hearing loss)

Environmental Agents

List of Environmental Agents:

  • Reviewed publications that examined pesticides (e.g., chlorinated pesticide compounds, organophosphates, insecticides, and fumigants), and pesticide residues

Source of Environmental Agents:

  • Reviewed publications that examined agricultural sources of pesticide exposure, and water or food products contaminated with pesticides (e.g., vegetables, fish, seafood, and dairy products)

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source


  • Cost-benefit analysis (CBA)

Cost Measured:

  • Reviewed publications that examined preference elicitation to reduce pesticide risks (i.e., individuals' willingness to pay (WTP) to reduce or eliminate pesticides use (e.g., WTP for pesticide-free food products, WTP to reduce or eliminate health risks associated with pesticide exposure)
  • indirect costs for farmers such as loss of natural enemies, pesticide resistance, and crop losses
  • environmental losses
  • costs for monitoring and cleaning pesticide-polluted groundwater
  • health costs including those for hospitalization due to poisoning, outpatient-treatment of poisonings, pesticide-related cancers and fatalities

Potential Cost Measures: (Not available)

Benefits Measures:

  • Reviewed publications that examined private benefits for farmers (e.g., improved productivity
  • self-insurance against pest uncertainty), private benefits for consumers

Potential Benefits: (Not available)

Location: (Not available)

Models Used: (Not available)

Methods Used:

  • The authors performed a review of existing literature published from 2000 to 2013 to present the following — 1) health effects of pesticide exposure; 2) preference valuation of health risks related to pesticide use; and 3) discussion of policies related to pesticides and difficulties of evaluating them.

Sources Used:

  • Agricultural Health Study Cohort data (Alavanja et al., 2003; 2004); Cancer incidence among glyphosate-exposed pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study (De Roos et al., 2005); Depression and pesticide exposures among private pesticide applicators enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study (Beseler et al., 2008); Prevalence of self-reported diabetes and exposure to organochlorine pesticides among Mexican Americans: Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1982-1984 (Cox et al., 2007); Rhinitis associated with pesticide exposure among commercial pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study (Slager et al., 2009); Pesticide exposure and timing of menopause (Farr et al., 2006); Health impacts of pesticide exposure in a cohort of outdoor workers (Beard et al., 2003); additional sources cited in publication

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source


  • Tago D, Andersson H, and Treich N. 2014. Pesticides and health: a review of evidence on health effects, valuation of risks, and benefit-cost analysis. Adv Health Econ Health Serv Res.
  • Pubmed
  • DOI: (Not available)

NIEHS Funding: (Not available)

Other Funding:

  • Agence de l'Eau Adour-Garonne (AEAG)
  • Institut d'Economie Industrielle (IDEI)
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