Date of Completion

Spring 4-28-2023

Thesis Advisor(s)

Eleanor Ouimet

Honors Major

Individualized Major


Biodiversity | Chemicals and Drugs | Environmental Public Health | Medical Toxicology | Pharmacology, Toxicology and Environmental Health | Public Health | Weed Science


Pesticides play an extremely complicated role in our everyday lives. From the water you use to make your coffee, to the breastmilk your neighbor provides for their child, to the lake your dog swims in, chemical pesticides or their byproducts have been found in nearly every corner of our lives. The chemicals used in synthetic herbicides, a subcategory of pesticides, have far reaching negative impacts on human health, biodiversity, and water quality. Despite there being numerous published studies on the relationships between pesticide exposures and health, there is still ongoing discord and controversy surrounding their role in our lives. After providing a brief overview of pesticide uses, regulations, and ingredients, this paper analyzes the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program at The University of Connecticut (UConn) Storrs, and discusses the specific pathways in which synthetic herbicides negatively affect health. The second portion of this project uses an action-based approach to apply the knowledge gained during the primary research portion to reduce pesticide use on campus. With help from Re:wild Your Campus, an organization working to reduce synthetic pesticide use on campuses across the U.S., I have been advocating for UConn to implement a synthetic herbicide-free pilot project in Storrs. The slide deck outlines the pilot program proposal, a cost-benefit analysis, and three case-studies from other colleges and universities that have implemented similar projects. Using an interdisciplinary approach, this thesis provides an unbiased look at the core problems that exist within the agrochemical industry, how health is impacted, and what a progressive, climate-forward university like UConn can do as a community to protect human and environmental health.