Excessive use of Agrochemicals is the result of modern technology that depends on inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. Over use of these chemicals have severe effects on environment that may lead to an immediate and long term effects. Investigating farmers’ awareness of agrochemicals residues and their behaviors regarding application is important in order to reduce human factors that negatively affect agricultural safety.
Effect on Soil:
- kills helpful bacteria
- Increase nitrate content in soil
- Alter soil pH levels
- Kill soil organisms
- Unnatural growth effects
- Residual effects
Effect on Water:
- Contamination by lead can affect aquatic animals
- Produce water unfit for consumption.
- Agrochemicals in water diffusing with larger water bodies promote the growth of algae.
- Excess chemicals lead to Eutrophication.
- Lead12 to water pollution thereby affecting aquatic animals.
- Chemical properties of water can be altered.
Effect on Air:
- Pesticide particles diffuse with air altering their nature.
- Wind drifts causes polluted air to spread across.
- Spray evaporation can be caused by altering weather conditions.
- Air polluted in this way is inhaled by surrounding living organisms having drastic effects on their health.
No part of the world is completely protected against pesticides adverse effects and potentially its serious health effects, however much burden, and are on the people of developing countries and especially on high risk groups in each country.Exposure to agrochemicals is linked to a range of serious illness and diseases not only in adults but also to children’s even though they are not in contact directly. These wanted toxicants not only shows acute toxicity but also responsible for long term or chronic toxicity. Effects of pesticide exposure can ranges from mild skin irritation to tumors and genetic changes. Developmental effects, blood and nerve disorders, endocrine disruption, coma or even death are also been associated with pesticides.
Potential health risks of pesticide poisoning. Arias, F.J. CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Pesticide poisoning can manifest itself within the body from two different types of exposures. These two types of poisoning, acute and chronic, can have a wide range of effects on the body ranging from less severe (i.e. headaches) to very severe and even life threatening. It is not surprising that pesticides used to be the preferred method of choice for suicide based on the extremely dangerous effects on the body. Acute poisoning is acquired from a single, large exposure to pesticides. Chronic poisoning is acquired through repeated, smaller exposures. Both can have varying degrees of severity however chronic poisoning will create longer term effects that are generally more gradual to have any noticeable effects on the body. The type of exposure to pesticides can determine the symptoms however different pesticides can also have specific symptoms associated with them.
Acute pesticide poisoning
Accidental ingestion of pesticides at home, consumption of pesticide contaminated food, or even exposure to pesticides applied to homes or lawns can all be methods of acquiring acute pesticide poisoning. In the developed countries of the West, we are able to combat many of the immediate effects of acute pesticide poisoning as it occurs only from one single exposure. This is not often the case in the developing countries of the world. Acute pesticide poisoning can affect the eyes through simple tearing, irritation and even conjunctivitis (often times referred to as “pink eye”). It can affect the skin through rashes, blistering, burns, jaundice, etc. The issues start to become more serious when we look at the affects that acute pesticide poisoning has on the human nervous system. Symptoms of the nervous system being affected include headache, dizziness, mood swings, depression, stupor, seizures, paralysis, loss of consciousness and even comas. Effects on the respiratory system include sore throats, coughing, pulmonaryedema and in severe cases respiratory failure. This is just a list of some of the more common symptoms however the list is far more extensive.
Chronic pesticide poisoning
Chronic pesticide poisoning has a massive amount of health effects that often take longer amounts of time to manifest themselves. These health effects have major potential, but are not quite as direct as an acute poisoning. Some major studies have been conducted to find out some of these longer term effects on people and the results are grim. Chronic pesticide poisoning can increase the risk of cancer, cause neurological impairment, create developmental effects in offspring (i.e. autism), birth defects, organ damage and cause interference with the human hormone system. A study published in the 2006 Annals of Neurology found that there was a very strong relationship between continuous pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s disease. The study found that “exposure to pesticides- even at low levels- increased the likelihood that an individual would suffer from Parkinson’s disease by 70% compared to individuals not exposed to pesticides”. Cornell University’s article Symptoms of Pesticide Poisoning in 2012 speaks on some of the effects of the common pesticides we see on the market around the world and the dangers associated with them. For example, a common product in North America is Weed-B-GonTM. This product is a Chloro-phenoxy Pesticide that is a commonly used pesticide. It is known to have damaging effects on the liver, kidneys, and nervous system as well as lung and stomach function. When consumed the acute pesticide poisoning can cause vomiting, burning sensations within the stomach, gastrointestinal distress (i.e. Diarrhea), and even muscle twitching. This pesticide is lucky to not stay within the body for very long which means it does not have chronic affects when compared to other chemicals. Other pesticide chemicals like Phenylmercuric Salts (common in AgrosanTM) can cause acute effects like delirium or lack of coordination but these effects can become permanent with chronic exposure. In North America, selling and use of many pesticides requires permits, training and protection which can often times reduce the health effects that occur. That is not the case in many countries in the developing world where farmers can go and buy some of the most hazardous chemicals right off of the shelf without any training or knowledge of some of the major effects it can have.