A recent online survey of 1,000 adults conducted by trade association Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, Arlington, Virginia, shows that Americans are supportive of current measures by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies to effectively regular pesticide products.
“Consumers told us that they strongly support the current federal and state pesticide regulatory framework,” says Megan Provost, president of RISE, which funded the survey conducted by St. Louis-based Povaddo, a research firm. “Their thinking is guided by science and proven data as people are more aware of the need to have access to safe and effective pesticide products than previous year’s research.”
The survey, conducted in late January, found that eight in 10 consumers believe pesticides have a vital role in protecting their “home, health and community.” This sentiment is reflected in product activity within the consumer base as six in 10 respondents stated that they have used pesticides in and around their homes in 2021. More than two-thirds of the respondents live in a residence with a yard that they are responsible for maintaining on a regular basis and over 50% own their primary residence.
A total of 82% of respondents agreed that current regulatory and scientific processes ensure the products effectively protect public health, property and safety, says Provost.
“The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have created an increased receptivity to science and uniform regulation,” says Provost. “The strong federal and state framework for scientific review and regulation of pesticide products gets strong support from people when they have some basic information about the process.”
Ongoing consumer support
Sustained and increased support for both state and federal pesticide regulations could lead to expanded infrastructure in not only the landscaping industry, but across green industries as a whole, says Provost. Faster pesticide product rollouts, product expansion and even an expansion of companies that provide pesticide services all may be long-term results of increased support for both federal and state infrastructure by the general public.
Provost says the strong consumer support will carry over to both local and federal lawmakers, who will have to acknowledge the strong support by maintaining current infrastructure and processes. The survey found that 78% of respondents agreed that pesticide regulation needs consistent strategies and tactics within both state and federal levels.
“Legislators and regulators should keep in mind that consumers have an overwhelming desire for effective, uniform and predictable regulation,” says Provost.
The pandemic has served as reminder of how one variable can throw the entire system into jeopardy. Provost says the importance of pesticide application protocol and processes is giving the industry an unexpected increase in public support.
“The economic impact of the pandemic has influenced opinions,” she says. “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has made a difference in people’s thinking. They believe that science and data should guide the regulatory process. It is encouraging to learn that with everyone’s focus on public health during the past year, people understand the important role pesticides play in keeping them safe and healthy.”