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The Effects Of Pesticide Use

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  • Category: Cancer

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Pesticides are used to kill insects, weeds, and other unwanted living things. The effects of pesticides are not limited to the plants to which they are applied. They also affect human, animals, and the environment. The scientific research that describes the impact of pesticides indicates that pesticides affect reproduction, growth, neurological development, and the function of the immune and endocrine systems. The wildlife toxicity data has shown that the young tend to exhibit greater sensitivity to pesticides. Other studies show that the effects of pesticides can be transmitted from one generation to the next. Exposure to pesticides can result in acute or chronic effects on health.

Chronic health effects of pesticides typically include cancer, interference with the development of the fetus and child, and disruption of the reproductive, endocrine, immune and/or central nervous systems. Controversial research has found that children develop leukemia three-to-nine times more often when pesticides are used around their homes. Other cancers, including brain tumors and breast cancer, have also been linked to pesticide exposure. Organochiorines are subjected of aggravating certain chronic health problems in humans such as cancer, weakened immune systems and the disruption of hormonal functions.

Dr. Pierre Mineau, a researcher with Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service, has shown that some pesticides can kill instantly. A single granule of carbofuran can be instantly lethal to a small bird. A pesticide called terbufos has a kill rate of about 50%. Another pesticide called organochiorines has also been found in human breast milk, and is known for reducing fertility in birds and thinning their eggshells.

The chlorophenoxy pesticide includes two herbicide chemicals, 4-D and MCPA. These chemicals can be moderately irritating to the skin and eyes. Inhalation of spray mist may cause coughing and a burning sensation in the nasal passages and chest. Prolonged inhalation sometimes causes dizziness. Ingestion will usually cause vomiting, a burning sensation in the stomach, diarrhea, and muscle twitching.

The most serious effects of pesticide poisonings usually result from acute exposure to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides. The signs and symptoms of a systematic or general internal poisoning from these chemicals begin as fatigue, headache, giddiness, sweating, dizziness, blurred vision, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Moderate signs and symptoms that may develop include numbness, changes in heart rate, general muscle weakness, difficulty in breathing and walking, pinpoint pupils, excessive salivation, and an increase in the severity of the earlier symptoms. In advanced poisoning cases, there may be convulsions and coma, which could ultimately lead to death.

All pesticides must be toxic, or poisonous, to be effective against the pests they are intended to control. Because pesticides are toxic, they are also potentially hazardous to humans and animals. It is important for those who use pesticides or regularly been exposed to them to know the relative toxicity and the potential health effects of the products they use. The best way to avoid or minimize the hazards of pesticides is to know what you are using and how to use it. This means you must read the label carefully and follow instructions.

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