Many organic growers avoid the use of synthetic chemical pesticides choosing instead such botanical pesticides as rotenone, pyrethrum, ryania, and sabadilla. The belief is that because these materials are natural (derived from plants) they are also safer for the applicator and the consumer. This is not necessarily the case. It is more accurate to recognize that botanicals are acceptable in organic systems not because they are less toxic but rather because they tend to be short-lived and break down more rapidly in the environment when exposed to light, air, and/or water. We should not ignore the health risks associated with their use. This article presents important facts about botanical pesticide safety.

Eric Sideman, Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, 5-6/88, Vol. 15, #3; p. 20.