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Agrochemicals, Environmental Racism, and Environmental Justice in the U.S.

The history of pesticide manufacturing and use in the United States reveals an enduring legacy of environmental racism against communities of color and their collective action for environmental justice. Humans have harnessed the toxicity of chemicals to kill agricultural insects for millennia. However, the rapid proliferation of conventional synthetic agrochemicals increased how much agriculture itself could hurt places and people. The burden of protecting people and places has always fallen on communities rather than governments and institutions.

This report introduces people to historical case studies of agrochemicals, environmental racism, and environmental justice. The report shows that agrochemicals have shaped these themes in U.S. history through a brief overview of pesticides, people, and places. While it does not provide a comprehensive analysis of agrochemicals, environmental racism, or environmental justice., the report presents the reader with principal definitions, histories, and suggested readings to help them continue exploring these themes.