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The buzzing by environmentalists over the shipment of US pesticides to the third world may be just a bug-a-boo. Hot, humid soils found in most developing countries break down most pesticides in as little as six months, conclude researchers at the Asian Vegetable and Development Center in Taiwan. In temperate climes, like the US, these toxins - such as DDT - have been found to persist for years.

The conclusion: Tropical farmers could harvest more crops for the hungry once the recommended pesticides doses are revised, suggests the center's Dr. N. S. Talekar.

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The one exception was dieldrin, which proved to be slightly persistent, the Taiwanese researchers concluded.

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