Harmful Effects Of Pesticide Applications
Many pesticides and chemicals are not biodegradable, and due to bioaccumulation, can enter into food chain and ultimately affect human and animal health. Environmental exposure of pesticides to humans through ecosystems may be during cropping/ agriculture practices, consumption of food materials or air inhalation etc.Without pesticides or agricultural chemicals (herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides and plant growth regulators),crop yield could drop by as much as a third and food prices would increase by as much as 75%. Toxicity of pesticide is measured according to a number of indices (such as oral and dermal LD50) based on tests carried out on laboratory animals.
They act mainly on receptors. In agriculture, mixing–loading step is the most contaminated task in open field accounting for two-thirds of the total daily exposure. Adverse health effects include acute and persistent injury to the nervous system, lung damage, injury to reproductive organs, and dysfunction of the immune and endocrine systems, birth defects and cancer. Even small amounts of some of these chemicals cause death; disrupt hormones and reduce the ability to successfully reproduce; and have been associated with specific cancers.
Better understanding of the patterns of exposure, the underlying variability within the human population, and the links between the animal toxicology data and human health effects will improve the evaluation of the risks to human health posed by pesticides. Improving epidemiology studies and integrating this information with toxicology data will allow the human health risks of pesticide exposure to be more accurately judged by public health policy makers.
There is need to educate all farmers for judicious use of pesticides, use of biotechnology and bio-pesticides, use of pesticides obtained from natural products such as Azadirachta indica (neem) via proper application of integrated pest management (IPM) programs would positively reflect on human health, agriculture, biodiversity and ecosystem management to minimize environmental problems caused by pesticides.
Pesticide use has resulted in acute and chronic ecological damage either by direct injury such as birds and fish or by indirect effects such as elimination of natural enemies; particularly long-lasting effects have included the depression or stimulation of reproduction in organisms.Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defined the term of pesticide as any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying or controlling any pest, including vectors of human or animal disease, unwanted species of plants or animals causing harm during or otherwise interfering with the production, processing, storage, transport or marketing of food, agricultural commodities, wood and wood products or animal feedstuffs, or substances which may be administered to animals for the control of insects, arachnids or other pests in or on their bodies.
The term includes substances intended for use as a plant growth regulator, defoliant, desiccant or agent for thinning fruit or preventing the premature fall of fruit. Also used as substances applied to crops either before or after harvest to protect the commodity from deterioration during storage and transport. Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest. A pesticide is generally a chemical or biological agent (such as a virus, bacterium, antimicrobial or disinfectant) that through its effect deters, incapacitates, kills or otherwise discourages pests. Target pests can include insects, plant pathogens, weeds, molluscs, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes (roundworms), and microbes that destroy property, cause nuisance, spread disease or are vectors for disease.
Although there are human benefits to the use of pesticides, some also have drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to humans and other animals. According to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 9 of the 12 most dangerous and persistent organic chemicals are pesticides. Pesticides are categorized into four main substituent chemicals: herbicides; fungicides; insecticides and bactericides.Subclasses of pesticides include: herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, pediculicides, and biocides. Pesticides can be classified by target organism, chemical structure, and physical state. Pesticides can also be classed as inorganic, synthetic, or biologicals (biopesticides), although the distinction can sometimes blur. Biopesticides include microbial pesticides and biochemical pesticides. Plant-derived pesticides, or “botanicals”, have been developing quickly. These include the pyrethroids, rotenoids, nicotinoids, and a fourth group that includes strychnine and scilliroside.
Many pesticides can be grouped into chemical families. Prominent insecticide families include organochlorines, organophosphates, and carbamates. Organochlorine hydrocarbons (e.g. DDT) could be separated into dichlorodiphenylethanes, cyclodiene compounds, and other related compounds. They operate by disrupting the sodium/potassium balance of the nerve fiber, forcing the nerve to transmit continuously. Their toxicities vary greatly, but they have been phased out because of their persistence and potential to bioaccumulate.Organophosphate and carbamates largely replaced organochlorines.
Both operate through inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, allowing acetylcholine to transfer nerve impulses indefinitely and causing a variety of symptoms such as weakness or paralysis. Organophosphates are quite toxic to vertebrates, and have in some cases been replaced by less toxic carbamates.The environmental impact of pesticides is often greater than what is intended by those who use them. Over 98% of sprayed insecticides and 95% of herbicides reach a destination other than their target species, including nontarget species, air, water, bottom sediments, and food.
1.1 Pest Rebound And Secondary Pest Outbreaks
Non-target organisms, organisms that the pesticides are not intended to kill, can be severely impacted by use of the chemicals. In some cases, where a pest insect has some controls from a beneficial predator or parasite, an insecticide application can kill both pest and beneficial populations. A study comparing biological pest control and use of pyrethroid insecticide for diamondback moths, a major cabbage family insect pest, showed that the insecticide application created a rebounded pest population due to loss of insect predators, whereas the biocontrol did not show the same effect. Likewise, pesticides sprayed in an effort to control adult mosquitoes, may temporarily depress mosquito populations, however they may result in a larger population in the long run by damaging the natural controlling factors.
This phenomenon, wherein the population of a pest species rebounds to equal or greater numbers than it had before pesticide use, is called pest resurgence and can be linked to elimination of predators and other natural enemies of the pest. Loss of predator species can also lead to a related phenomenon called secondary pest outbreaks, an increase in problems from species which were not originally very damaging pests due to loss of their predators or parasites. An estimated third of the 300 most damaging insects in the US were originally secondary pests and only became a major problem after the use of pesticides. In both pest resurgence and secondary pest outbreaks, the natural enemies have been found to be more susceptible to the pesticides than the pests themselves, in some cases causing the pest population to be higher than it was before the use of pesticide.
Though there can be benefits using pesticides, inappropriate use can counterproductively increase pest resistance and kill the natural enemies of pests. Many users are inadequately informed about potential short and long-term risks, and the necessary precautions in the correct application of such toxic chemicals are not always made. Pesticides can contaminate unintended land and water when they are sprayed aerially or allowed to run off fields, or when they escape from production sites and storage tanks or are inappropriately discarded.
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