Often times, when people consume produce products they don’t think to consider the process it took to preserve the produce from going bad or being consume by pests. “A pesticide is a chemical used to prevent, destroy, or repel pests. Pests can be insects, mice and other animals, weeds, fungi, or microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses” (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2012). “A pest can by any plants or animals that endangers our food supply, health or comfort” (Delaplane, 1996). Pesticide is a broad term that includes things such as insecticide, herbicide, and fungicide. Most pesticides that are used contain chemicals that can be harmful to people, animals, and the environment. The Office of Pesticide Programs of the Environmental Protection Agency regulates pesticides in the United States to protect public health and the environment. All pesticides used must be registered with the EPA, and the agency requires a battery of scientific tests not only for every pesticide, but for every use of every pesticide. Some pesticides that people may be aware of are things such as cockroach spray and rat poisons. However, some common products we use are considered to be pesticides as well such as: disinfect cleaners, mildew cleaners and plant sprays.
“Ancient Romans killed insect pests by burning sulfur and controlled weeds with salt. In the 1600s, ants were controlled with mixtures of honey and arsenic. By the late nineteenth century, U.S. farmers were using copper acetoarsenite (Paris green),calcium arsenate, nicotine sulfate, and sulfur to control insect pests in field crops” (Delaplane, 1996). DDT was developed as the first modern synthetic insecticides in the 1940s. DDT was initially used to treat malaria, typhus, and other insect-borne human diseases among both military and civilian population. “DDT was also used for insect control in crop and livestock production institutions, homes, and gardens. DDT's quick success as a pesticide and broad use in the United States and other countries led to the development of resistance by many insect pest species” (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2012). DDT was so effective at killing pests and thus boosting crop yields and was so inexpensive to make that its use quickly spread over the globe. In 1948, Muller was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for its discovery. DDT was also used for many non-agricultural applications as well such as to delouse soldiers in WWII and, until the 1960 to control mosquitoes in residential areas of the US. In this essay, I will discuss the effects pesticides have on the environment, wildlife, and human health.
Pesticides Effect on the Environment
According to Cornell entomologist David Pimentel, “[i]t has been estimated that only 0.1% of applied pesticides reach the target pests, leaving the bulk of the pesticides (99.9%) to impact the environment”. Pesticides can travel great distances through the environment. When sprayed on...