Choosing the organic route leads us to think we’re doing something better for ourselves and the environment. But researchers at the University of Guelph are countering that idea with a recent study proclaiming this might not be so.

Released Tuesday, the study delivers a warning that organic pesticides are possibly worse than their synthetic counterparts.

Researchers embarked on a two-year study that compared the performance, effectiveness and environmental impact of two conventional pesticides, two “risk-reduced” synthetic pesticides, and two organic pesticides on soybean aphids.

With a series of field tests, they aimed to discover how well each pesticide worked at killing the vermin, while leaving their predators unharmed.

The study found that the organic pesticides did, indeed, kill off the aphids. However, they also found that it killed the ladybugs that would combat them. They did discover that three out of the four synthetic pesticides caused less impact on the environment, as they were more selective in killing the aphids.

Rebecca Haillet, a University of Guelph professor and one of the researchers in the study, explained that the reason for the toxic effect was due to the fact that when using organic pesticides, a larger amount is required.

Some provinces have already banned the use of these organic and natural pesticides.

The study did not address the safety of traditional pesticides, but instead explored the eco-impact of the natural varieties. They looked ingredients and their toxicity rate on both the environment and wildlife.

The study appears in the current edition of PLoS One.

Join the conversation on the Ecoki Facebook page
Follow us on Twitter
Become an Ecoki Author
How to request a hands-on review
Join the Ecoki Kiva Lending Team to help people around the world!