Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Colette Cosyn-Kang SURF SMART

Examining Human Toxicity of Agricultural Pesticide Use in California

Pesticide use trends in California have shifted drastically in recent decades. As neurotoxic pesticides-such as organophosphates and carbamates- have been phased out of agricultural use, they have been replaced by other pesticides such as pyrethroids, neonicotinoids, and glyphosate (the active ingredient in RoundUp). However, little is known about the relative toxicity of the pesticides that are currently being used most heavily in agriculture. No previous studies have evaluated total pesticide toxicity over time, including whether cumulative toxicity has shifted in conjunction with changes in the types of pesticides being applied. Additionally, no previous studies have assessed trends in use of organic pesticides and potential implications for toxicity. This project seeks to examine the total toxicity to humans of agricultural pesticide use in California and Monterey County from 1990-2017.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you for funding my summer research experience! I only discovered my passion for environmental health last year, and this opportunity served as my first deep dive into the field. I received such strong, personal mentorship (which can be quite rare at UC Berkeley) and grew in my skills as a researcher and scholar. SURF has given me the confidence to apply to a graduate program and pursue environmental health as a career. Thank you, again!!
Profile image of Colette Cosyn-Kang
Major: Society and Environment, Political Economy
Mentor: Carly Hyland
Sponsor: Johnson Fund
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