Since the mid 20th century, chemical pesticides have played an increasingly major role in agriculture, industry and urban land management. In fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency calculates that national pesticide use amounts to over one billion pounds per year. That’s roughly 3 pounds for every person in the country!
This is concerning because pesticides can have negative impacts on other organisms aside from the intended pest, and this can cause problems in the broader environment. Pesticide exposure has also been linked to a number of serious human health concerns, including cancer.
What makes NCAP unique?
NCAP understands that both pests and pesticides are a problem. We seek solutions coming from a change in approach – a difference in mindset – rather than a change in synthetic chemistry or a new product with a silver bullet and a warning label. We help people become more pest-aware and to learn to deal with pests in ways that avoid the use of pesticides that harm our health, wildlife, soil, water, and the air we breathe.
We demonstrate alternatives. We work with farmers, school groundskeeping staff and park managers to show their peers how they “do things differently.” We also work in collaboration to change policy for the better, whether in passing a law in Oregon to require pest reduction and elimination in schools through the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), or by working to improve notification laws in Washington State so that when pesticides are going to be used, farm workers and neighbors will be notified and can better protect themselves.
We work with diverse partners to learn the science behind the problems and solutions. Equity, diversity, inclusion and access are threads throughout our work as many underrepresented communities experience disproportionate exposure to pesticides. We seek the safest and best alternatives, and when there are none, we push for more research to find them. We research and reference the science behind both our cautions and our solutions. We work at many levels using many different strategies – all toward the larger goal of advancing alternatives and moving away from pesticides.
Our Program Areas
NCAP works to protect those who are most vulnerable from harm caused by pesticides, while also striving to educate and help identify healthier, more ecologically sound solutions to common pest issues. Read our 2020-2023 Strategic Plan Summary and our latest digital Annual Report (or download the PDF version). We focus our campaigns in three main areas:
Healthy Food and Farms
At the heart of sustainable agriculture is the belief that we must nurture the land just as it, in turn, nurtures us. It’s not only about avoiding harmful chemicals, it’s about investing in practices that conserve as well as cultivate. NCAP is working to create lively organic communities that will ensure a healthier future for our food, our farms and our farmers.
Healthy People and Communities
Pesticides are often used in parks, schools and other areas where children live, learn and play. This puts kids at risk for exposure, which can lead to serious illness. We are working to protect growing minds and bodies by organizing and educating to make more places pesticide-free.
Healthy Wildlife and Water
Salmon are a vital and historic part of ecology, food and culture throughout the Northwest. Sadly, the survival of these fish is threatened by pesticide pollution. We are fighting to save wild Salmon, Steelhead, and other aquatic wildlife by demanding the strong enforcement of laws meant to protect endangered fish from pesticides.