Pesticides for Plants: Impact on Health and Environment

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pesticides for plants

With the industrialization of agriculture sectors among many other sectors, the chemical burden on the environment has increased. One of the significant contributors to it is pesticides for plants.

These not only pose a threat to the environment but also human health.

As humans ingest the plant, they can become extremely hazardous for consumption.

So what to do about it?

Let’s find out below!

This article discusses the impact pesticides for plants have on human health and the environment as well as what you can use instead.

pesticides for plants types

What are the Types of Pesticides for Plants

Pesticides encompass several other groups such as herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and disinfectants that destroy pests.

These pests can destroy the yield hence, farmers opt to save it using pesticides.

The different kinds and compositions of pesticides can raise concerns for the environment and health.

Organochlorine 

The infamous insecticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane i.e. DDT is is an organochlorine pesticide.

However, that’s not the only one.

Endosulfan, Dicofol and Dieldrin are also used as organochlorine pesticides.

The uncontrolled use of DDT became a cause of concern due to which it is still in use in only a few countries.

It remains stored in the fat making every living organism have some form of DDT body burden.

What’s more, it can have a carcinogenic action and also be endocrine-disrupting.

This leads to endocrine disorders, neurodevelopmental effects such as embryonic development and lipid metabolism.

Hence, it has several concerns for human health once consumed.

Organophosphates

These can attack the nervous system.

They can interrupt the nerve signal transmission resulting in headaches, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and more.

You can also get serious poisoning from these leading to difficulty breathing, coma and even death.

Acute poisoning is a common health risk arising from their use.

Moreover, these pesticides have an endocrine-disrupting potential.

Thus, they can interfere with the cholinesterase enzymes lessening the secretion of insulin.

This disrupts the cellular metabolism of fats, proteins and carbs in your body.

Furthermore, it can cause cardiovascular diseases, cause dementia, harm the male reproductivity and type glyphosate can have an effect on human erythrocytes in vitro.

It can also disrupt the shikimate pathway.

There are also concerns of glyphosate causing glucose intolerance, hypertension, diabetes and stroke.

There are several other classes of pesticides, three of which we will discuss below!

hazardous chemicals

Other Classes

Carbamate 

Carbamate pesticides also affect the nervous system and have the potential to be endocrine-disrupting.

Moreover, they affect mitochondrial function, cause reproductive disorders and have an impact on metabolic processes.

They can cause necrosis and apoptosis in human immune cells and genotoxic and cytotoxic effects in hamster ovarian cells.

There is an increased risk of dementia, showing neurobehavioral effects and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Pyrethroids

These are synthetic insecticides that are more persistent.

Pyrethroids are also toxic to the nervous system.

Since they are more persistent, it is harder for the body to break them down.

Hence, a fetus cannot break down during pregnancy which can cause long-term health problems.

It can harm reproductivity and also cause cancer.

Genetic damage and heart disease may also have a link.

What’s more, pyrethroid poisoning can result in headaches, itching, stinging of the skin, tremor, fatigue and twitching.

Soil Fumigants 

Fumigants are directly applied to the soil.

While they are toxic to the fungus, bacteria and insects in the soil, they can also move from the soil to the air because they are essentially gases.

Gases can expose people around causing extreme irritation to the eyes and the lungs.

Moreover, they can also irritate the skin.

Metam potassium and Dichloropropene can cause cancer.

Moreover, metam sodium can affect reproductivity.

Places that use more fumigants showed a higher rate of premature birth than those that do not use them.

Thus, these chemicals in the pesticides have a detrimental effect on human health.

They can cause long-term and acute health problems while also affecting the environment.

Let’s find out it more in detail below!

chemical affects on environment and people

Pesticides for Plants Affecting Environment

Pesticides can harm the ecological system and the environment.

One way is through biomagnification.

This refers to the increase of a chemical along the food chain.

As the food chain goes up there are fewer living organisms consumed by large organisms.

Hence, the amount of pesticides in plants starts to accumulate.

The quantity of harmful chemicals also amplifies in the tissues and organs of humans.

Secondly, there is bioconcentration.

This term refers to how a chemical gets into an animal or human through another medium.

One example of that would be how DDT deposits in fat tissues.

For instance, edible fish may be contaminated with DDT whereby humans consume it.

This leads to physiological effects on the organisms that consume it.

It can:

  • disturb the endocrine system
  • cause reproductive failure
  • form lesions on animals
  • cause intergenerational effects
  • cause cellular damage

Pathogens, nutrients and other environmental pressures can also cause these effects along with pesticides.

An environmental impact would be the contamination of soil and water bodies.

They can seep into freshwater through soil pollution affecting soil fertility too.

Once they leach to groundwater and other water bodies, the pesticides can harm the aquatic life proving toxic to them.

Hence leaching and spillage can become extremely dangerous to aquatic animals and also the people who consume them.

Thus, they are not only toxic to the pests but also dangerous for birds, non-target plants, fish and insects that are beneficial once it seeps into the soil.

Insecticides are the kind that causes the greatest damage, however, herbicides can also be harmful to non-target organisms.

All in all, the environmental impact affects:

  • the beneficial microorganisms in the soil
  • contaminating the soil and air
  • targeting other organisms and vegetation
  • affects aquatic life and birds
  • ground and surface water contamination

chemical affecting human health

Pesticides for Plants Affecting Human Health

As you inhale the fumigants or consume plants and animals containing the pesticides, there is a risk that it will affect you acutely and chronically.

Acute Effects

Acute side effects are immediate.

Hence, they are more likely to occur from soil fumigants.

You may immediately feel itching in the eyes, nose, throat and on your skin after coming in contact.

Alongside itching, there can be a burning and stinging sensation as well.

Other than that, you could face dizziness, nausea and diarrhea.

However, beware of pesticide poisoning.

The symptoms may be similar to cold so it is hard to recognize that it is actually pesticide poisoning.

Hence, if you suspect you came in contact with pesticides, tell your doctor about it immediately.

People with asthma should also be super careful as acute effects can be severe for them.

Chronic 

Long-Term effects can appear over years of exposure to pesticides.

These can harm the reproductive system, cause endocrine disruption and also mess with the nervous system.

It can result in infertility, damaging the kidney, liver and lungs, birth defects and also cancer.

Other reproductive harm can be stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, sterility.

There is a risk of getting cancer of the brain, reproductive organs, breasts and leukemia.

Endocrine disruptors can affect essential bodily functions.

They inhibit hormones which in return disrupt processes like brain development, stress response, metabolism and sleep cycle.

Since the pesticides can become endocrine disruptors they can cause huge harm to animals as well as humans.

Adults are at risk of all these problems but children are always more.

More on that below!

pesticides for plants affecring children

Effects on Children and How to Counter That?

Since the organs and systems inside a child are still under development, they are more vulnerable to pesticide use.

Their immune systems are also weaker and still developing so they cannot fight back the harmful chemicals relying on their immunity.

What’s more, they cannot excrete and detoxify the chemicals better.

Besides, pesticide exposure mostly happens through the skin, and compared to their size, children have more skin surface than adults.

Furthermore, their respiratory rate is higher.

This means they can inhale airborne chemicals comparatively faster than adults.

Additionally, they consume more food and water that may contain pesticides.

They run the risk of exposure due to their contact with floors and playgrounds.

It is concerning that exposure during the early developmental stage can lead to permanent damage.

So what can you do to protect your crops so that they meet the food demand but also not harm the environment and living beings?

One solution to that is using soil conditioners. 

These are organic fertilizers and organic pesticides.

They provide the nutrients needed for a plant’s growth while also eliminating weeds and viruses that can affect its growth.

Al Ardh Alkhadra provides you with the soil conditioners necessary fr your plants’ healthy growth.

By using these, you cannot only meet your demand but also ensure that growing your plants are not harming the environment or human health.

Read more about these products here:

safer veggies

Hence, using organic products can be the solution to prevent the persistent chemical from accumulating in human bodies and harming them in the long term.

Using pesticides for plants may eliminate weeds but can be detrimental in many other ways.

Thus, choose organic alternatives such as soil conditioners for your crops.

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