Tatiana Otero, Jonelle Parker, Shakhyrrah Mc
A pesticide is any insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, disinfectants and various other substances that are used to kill, repel, or control any plant or animal life considered to be a pest.
What is the problem?
- The use of pesticides can damage agricultural land by harming beneficial insect species, soil microorganisms, and worms which can help the soil by naturally limiting pest populations and maintaining it's health
- Pesticides weaken plant root systems and immune systems by reducing concentrations of essential plant nutrients in the soil like nitrogen and phosphorus
- Pesticides are toxic to living organisms and can accumulate in water systems and pollute the air
- Pesticides have been linked to a wide range of human health hazards, ranging from short-term impacts such as headaches and nausea to chronic impacts like cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption.
- A July 2007 study conducted by researchers at the Public Health Institute, the California Department of Health Services, and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health found a sixfold increase in risk factor for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) for children of women who were exposed to organochlorine pesticides.
- Acute dangers - such as nerve, skin, and eye irritation and damage, headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and systemic poisoning - can sometimes be dramatic, and even occasionally fatal.
- In February 2009, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry published a study that found that children who live in homes where their parents use pesticides are twice as likely to develop brain cancer versus those that live in residences in which no pesticides are used.
- Better testing. State and federal agencies should require stricter independent testing, including testing of synergistic effects of pesticides. Pesticides known or suspected of causing human health problems should be phased out.
- Protect our children. Because our children are the most vulnerable population to pesticides, pesticide use should be prohibited in places where our children live and play, including schools, parks, and playgrounds. Require strict non-toxic pest management programs for such places.
- Pesticide Use Reduction. Provide technical assistance to farmers, local governments, businesses, and homeowners on non-toxic alternatives to pesticide use. This includes alternatives to nuisance spraying for mosquitoes and controlling West Nile virus and other pest problems.
- Prohibit pollution of our water and poisoning of our communities. Ensure that aerial pesticide use does not pollute our waterways through strict rules governing spraying and buffer zones that prevent the harmful effects of drift. Prohibit the use of pesticides for purely aesthetic reasons. Prevent pesticide applications to water bodies, instead using non-chemical methods of managing aquatic invasive weeds.est Nile virus and other pest problems.
- Right to know. Provide free and universal notification to residents about pesticide use, including who is using chemicals, where, when, how, what pesticides are being used, and why.
The largest reported United States outbreak of illness caused by a foodborne pesticide was due to aldicarb-contaminated watermelons. In Oregon, where the first episodes of toxicity were reported, 264 reports were received, and 61 definite cases were identified. Residues of aldicarb, a cholinesterase inhibitor, were found in 10 of 16 tested melons which had been eaten by persons meeting the case definition. The outbreak demonstrates the need for enhanced physician vigilance with respect to anticholinesterase intoxication. It also demonstrates the value of an established system for reporting of unusual illness to public health officials.