A Harmful Way to Eradicate Pests
In our everyday lives, there are many products that have been introduced over time that are designed to solve problems, but in doing so, they can actually be quite harmful for human consumption or ingestion. A prime example of this is of course, pesticides.
Pesticides have been designed to eradicate pests that can cause damage to crops or forests, cause damage and spread disease in playgrounds and parks, within our homes and communities, and some that can even kill us. But one thing about pesticides, is that they almost always have risks associated with them, no matter what their purpose. Pesticides include chemicals that control weeds (herbicides), kill insects (insecticides), eradicate fungus (fungicides), rid your property of rodents (rodenticides), and others.
Despite the importance pesticides play in a consistently balanced existence here on planet earth, science is constantly uncovering new information relating to pesticides, and the health implications connected to exposure to pesticides that often causes alarm, and with good reason. The harsh reality about pesticides is, that they do more damage than good.
Even though we learn new things about these poisonous chemicals we put on our food and in our water sources, it still does not stop us from using 2.5 billion kilograms (5.6 billion pounds) of pesticides globally every year. With more than 17,000 pesticide products on the market, the fact that they are such big business means they will probably never go away.
Connections To Disease
The connection between common diseases and pesticide exposure continues to strengthen despite efforts to limit exposure, or weaken chemical risks. Common diseases like birth defects and reproductive dysfunction, asthma, autism and learning disabilities, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s and many types of cancer are all known to have connections to pesticide exposure. If that is not enough reason to avoid exposure, then we need to go a little further in depth.
Alzheimer’s disease affects around 10% of the population over 65 years old, and evidence is constantly growing that pesticide exposure has a role in its development. Some pesticides increase beta-amyloid peptide which are key characteristics of the disease.
As the number of people suffering from asthma continually increases, so too does research linking pesticides with asthma. There are hundreds of studies available that show links between chemical exposure and asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
Numerous pesticides have been known to have a negative impact on fertility in both men and women. Chemicals like methoxychlor, which is used on food crops as well as home gardens lowers women’s chances of becoming pregnant with exposure. Low sperm counts and altered hormone levels are linked to infertility in males with exposure to organophosphate pesticides.
Other life-threatening diseases that are linked to chemicals commonly found in pesticides are non-Hodgkin lymphoma, occupational skin disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease has had many linking studies to chemicals like the pesticides paraquat and rotenone.
It’s Not Just Adults or Humans At Risk
Not only are humans at risk of harm when exposed to chemicals found in pesticides, but our pets are also at risk of harm. Household, lawn, and garden pesticides can be dangerous or deadly to your pets, including cats, birds, dogs, reptiles, horses, and fish.
Pesticides aimed at cats and dogs, like flea and tick products, can be very hazardous to your pets, even when used as instructed. It’s very important to know that the chemicals used to keep fleas off dogs, is toxic for cats, so you need to ensure you don’t mix your pet’s flea control pesticides. Your pets are also at risk when you control or treat areas of your yard for pests like weeds, and can end up dead themselves if they happen to happen to consume a mouse or rat that has been poisoned.
Children are particularly vulnerable to the risks of pesticide use. Because the human brain is not completely formed until around 12 years old, childhood exposure to pesticides can impact the development of the central nervous system. Because children have not developed their immune systems, detoxifying mechanisms or nervous systems completely, simple things like playing in the grass, putting things into their mouth and even playing on floors can increase the effects of pesticide exposure.
One of the most important reasons we should actually avoid pesticides (and their use) is that they often kill off beneficial species as well as the pests they were intended for. Two of the most beneficial species on the planet are heavily affected by pesticide use, and those are bees and worms.
Bees of course, naturally pollinate plants. Without them, we don’t have plants. Not only do they pollinate natural plants, they pollinate farm crops, and forage plants which livestock rely on to survive. Bees are quite possibly the most important creature on the planet, and without them, we will have no food crops, and our oxygen will run out. Pesticides that are harmful to bees are in fact putting the lives of every human on earth at risk.
Worms maintain soil health and reduce the number of pests naturally, and without them, farming would be almost pointless. Worms help to maximise the amount of water and that filters into soil. They break down organic matter into natural fertilizers. Pesticides in the soil often kill off worms, making the farming job harder than it should be.
Despite what pesticides have been generated for, if we don’t avoid them, our future will be impacted. No matter what continent or country you live in, pesticides are readily available, and only you can make the choices to avoid them as much as you possibly can.