As mentioned earlier, efforts are needed to address safer practices for workers. Farm workers typically do not know when or what pesticides have been applied to fields, so they must rely on their employers to protect them from hazardous exposure. Because some employers might not follow WPS regulations, funds should be assigned to develop pesticide formulations that contain specific odors or dyes that would provide farm workers with direct information on the presence of hazardous pesticide residues.
Tools are available that allow inexpensive monitoring of worker exposure to pesticides and monitoring of the pharmacokinetics of compounds at concentrations commensurate with actual environmental exposures. These tools should be used.
It is clear from the committee's study that the general public has a critical function in determining the future role of pesticides in US agriculture. Consumer interest in food and other goods perceived as safe and healthy fuels the rapid growth of the organic-food market; at the same time, consumer use of pesticides in the home and on the lawn continues to grow (Chapter 2). Many of the paradoxical decisions made by the voting and consuming public arise from a relatively poor grasp of the science behind crop protection (Chapter 3).
The public sector has responsibility for providing education and information. Publicly supported education at all levels is essential for facilitating equality of opportunity. The working of a democracy and the efficiency of the market are infeasible without an educated public. Availability of information is essential for efficient resource allocation. Because knowledge also has public-good properties, a major responsibility of the public sector is to provide basic knowledge and information for decision-makers, in both the public and private sectors (Ruttan 1980).
Education in scientific and technical fields is designed to meet anticipated demands in the private and public sectors. As long as there is a demand for pesticide-based solutions to pest-control problems, the education system has to train people to work in this field and to provide independent pesticide expertise in the public sector. Because we agree that pest-control choices have to be determined in the context of a perspective that incorporates biophysical, ecological, and economic considerations, education should emphasis basic principles and knowledge that will lead to informed decisions. Schultz (1975) emphasized the value of a good understanding of basic principles in a modern economy. He argued that people with a solid general education in the principles of science