Dangers Of Pesticides
A List of Some of the Dangers of Pesticides
Most people realize that pesticides in general are a bad thing, but few understand the actual dangers of pesticides as they pertain to humans and the environment. For the past few decades, thanks largely in part to biochemists and environmental engineers, the world has become more educated in regards to these killer chemicals and what effects they actually have on the world around us, aside from their primary function—to kill bugs.
The following is a list of some of the biggest dangers of pesticides, both for humans and the environment.
Pesticides are Potentially Fatal to Humans
This statement is not meant to be a scare tactic. While it is unlikely that passive exposure to most pesticides will do any more than cause some discomfort and perhaps a scratchy throat or watery eyes, acute exposure can be potentially fatal, especially in children and the elderly. People that live on, or near, farms that use pesticides are at the highest risk for acute exposure to pesticides and should keep an eye out for several symptoms.
Symptoms of over-exposure to pesticides include dizziness, burning throat, diarrhea, vomiting, itchy skin, wheezing, coughing, and intense headaches. Seek medical assistance if you feel you’ve suffered from exposure to pesticides and are exhibiting any of these symptoms.
Repeated Exposure Can Eventually Lead to Neurological Problems
It’s a scary thought, but it has been shown in numerous scholarly studies that prolonged and chronic exposure to certain pesticides can lead to some serious and debilitating neurological issues. People that have spent much of their life around pesticides have a startlingly increased chance of developing Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and even epilepsy.
In one study by UCLA, it was shown that people that had begun being exposed to pesticides at very early ages increased their chances of developing Parkinson’s disease by up to six fold. While not all pesticides will lead to these issues, some certainly will, and it is recommended that you be aware of what you kill your insect pests with.
Pesticide Sprays Can Drift Through the Air
When sprayed into the air, little puffs and clouds of pesticide can actually spread over thousands of miles on air currents. Although this gradually dilutes the strength of the pesticide, it has a horrible lasting effect on our environment. Harmful chemicals are able to enter into waterways, evaporated into the sky, and eventually returned to earth in the form of rain where they can contaminate drinking water and natural bodies of water.
DDT, a particularly dangerous pesticide that was banned from the U.S. more than 20 years ago, can still be found in rain samples and in soil samples at many agricultural sites. It is no wonder then that the chemicals are able to travel so far from their original site.
Repeated Pesticide Use Can Hinder Crop Yields
Although pesticides were designed to protect crops from invading insects, continued use of pesticides on crops can actually reduce crop yields. This happens because pesticides reduce the microflora activity in crop soil. Without this beneficial activity, soil health and quality decline which results in the gradual reduction of healthy and bountiful harvests.
In areas where the pesticides continue being utilized despite dwindling crops, some researchers and agriculturists have taken note of some fields no longer being able to sustain any crops at all. There is simply not enough bacteria, earthworms, and other living things found in the soil to help replenish nutrients and keep the plants and soil healthy.
Scientists are constantly looking for new ways to protect crops from pests without having to resort to harmful chemicals. At the time of this writing, the world is a long way off from completely eradicating pesticides, but many alternatives are available.