Essay On Pesticides
Pesticides are chemicals that make our produce perfect and our yards free of pests. However, this perfection comes at a price to many different people. Pesticides are poisons with the sole purpose of killing. They are intended to kill weeds, insects and fungus. There are three types of pesticides called herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Every pesticide has an active ingredient and an inert ingredient. The active ingredient is the poison that kills the pest and the inert ingredient is the carrying or spreading compound.
Pesticides were once thought of as a miracle cure for hunger. They were supposed to keep crops free of pests and mosquitoes under control. People were not aware of the dangers that these poisons possessed. DDT was supposed to be a benefactor for all humanity. There were few regulations on the use of DDT use.
It was even sprayed where children played. It was intended to kill mosquitoes, but it ended up poisoning, even killing people. Now a days the U.S. has seen the dangers that pesticides possess and banned many kinds from use in this country. However, the U.S. has yet to ban them from being made there and exported to foreign countries. In fact, 25 tons are exported every hour.
There are three main problems with this: the regulations are very low in the places the U.S. exports to, many of the people in those places are unaware of the dangers and the pesticides can return on the produce that the U.S. imports. A specific example of how unaware the people are is an incident in Costa Rica.
The field workers in a sugar plantation were not told of the dangers of the pesticides that they applied and they were not given any protective clothing. Many of them went shirtless and in tennis shoes with no socks. They had used this pesticide for several days when many began to complain of headache and nausea, some began to vomit blood. One man died, but fortunately the problem was discovered in time to treat the rest of the workers before they died.
One third of the poison banned in the U.S. returns in what is being called the circle of poison, which is when pesticides that are exported and used on produce that return on the produce, back to the people it was being meant to keep away from. To avoid this, many people are shopping at health food stores where pesticides have not been used on the food.
There is a basic progression that occurs when the body is poisoned by a pesticide. First there is a biochemical inactivation of an enzyme. Next this biochemical change leads to cellular change. Then the cellular change causes symptoms of poisoning seen or felt in the particular organ where the enzyme that was deactivated was.
All this changes a body’s homeostasis and when homeostasis can not be maintained or restored, disease occurs. Most effects are not permanent, but may take a long time to completely recover from. However, some do cause permanent damage. The damage of pesticide poisoning varies. It can affect just one particular organ system or it can effect a number of organ systems. Another problem that pesticide poisoning possess is detection.
A history of being exposed to chemicals can cause illness that can be hard to distinguish from a viral infection, such as the flu. One might go to long without treatment thinking they have a virus that they will eventually overcome, when in reality they have been poisoned by pesticides, which can lead to worse and worse damage over time. People who handle chemicals frequently in the course of their jobs and become ill, should tell their physicians about their previous exposure to chemicals. The statistics of harm from pesticides are numerous.
Each year 25 million people, primarily from the Southern Hemisphere, are poisoned through occupational exposure to pesticides, of those 220,000 die. Pesticides have been linked to cancer in many situations, but, scientists do not yet understand exactly how cancer occurs or why some chemicals seem to cause cancer and other do not. High concentrations of DDT have been found in the breast milk of mothers in Central America.
Also, a study in 1993 revealed that higher levels of DDE have been found in U.S. women with breast cancer, than in those women who do not have breast cancer. At least 136 active ingredients in pesticides have been found to cause cancer in humans or animals.
Next time you go to the super market remember, the abundance and variety of fresh, picture perfect produce is brought to you and your family at a price, not just at the cash register. The price is also paid by the workers and users of deadly pesticides, of the fields we import food from. It might shock you to know that 79, of the 136 proven carcinogenic pesticides are used on you to this day!