Between 1992 and 2015 Argentina lost 17% of its tree cover. Regionally, deforestation continues, but net forest loss recently came to a halt. Some scholars argue that this was facilitated by industrial agricultural intensification. This view is debated, but we focus on the neglected costs associated with this intensification. An almost tenfold increase of pesticide use in Argentina during the last two decades caused the pollution of soil, water and sediments. The widespread use of pesticides is impairing the health of agricultural workers and people living near agricultural fields, and is putting the health of vulnerable parts of the population (children and pregnant women) at risk. More than 50 pesticide active ingredients marketed in Argentina have been banned in the European Union for safety reasons. We contend that health and pollution aspects need to be taken into account when assessing the benefits and drawbacks of different types of land use.