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Crop Biotech Update

Reduced Pesticide Poisoning Observed Among Cotton Growers

July 29, 2011

Bt has reduced the incidence of acute pesticide poisoning among cotton growers resulting in significant health cost savings. This finding was noted by Shahzad Kouser and Matin Qaim in their paper Impact of Bt cotton on pesticide poisoning in smallholder agriculture: A panel data analysis to be published in the journal Ecological Economics.

The researchers used unique panel survey data from India to estimate unbiased effects and their developments over time. Bt cotton reduced pesticide applications by 50%, with the largest reductions of 70% occurring in the most toxic types of chemicals. Annual health cost savings was estimated at US$14-51 million. Positive health externalities were also observed to increase over time.

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