at a time when grants dictate the direction of research, one of the greatest challenges for public health advocates is to find scientific research carried out in the public interest, as against research that is funded by private interests. Which is why, when a scientific paper throws light on the long-term effects of pesticides, it is time to get up and take note. us -based Washington State University scientists have now shown how pesticides can cause bio-chemical disruptions in the human body, leading to diseases that can be passed on to future generations. The scientists use their findings to explain declining fertility among men in the uk. The gateway they have opened could lead to a better understanding of cancer, diabetes and asthma. We might see a new dimension to both prevention and treatment. The results also reinforce the imperative for policy changes. Nothing stirs intervention, on behalf of environmental protection, like a reasonable doubt on the public health front. Regulators will have to get more serious about reducing pesticide use in agriculture, reducing air pollution, protecting drinking water sources from toxins and eliminating the use of harmful pharmaceuticals.

Now that we have more evidence of how toxins can affect our future generations, uncomfortable questions must be asked. Research such as this forces us out of our complacence. We are too used to using (and abusing) products that have come into circulation recently, without knowing much about them. When a product is bought from a shop, there is an assumption that someone, somewhere, has ensured its safety. Often it is; there is no reason to turn paranoid. But what if it is not? This fear lurks around the corner of the supermarket shelf. It has a logic, and it isn't just the creation of doomsday speculation. It is the basis of the precautionary principle.

These are all nice ideas. Like World Peace. It is just that policymakers require evidence to act in public interest. That's what this kind of research does. Here is the proof. Now act, please.