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Putting An End To Endosulfan Essay

2156 words - 9 pages

Imagine being the person who in the early 1950’s developed endosulfan, a new and cheap way to protect a very wide variety of crops and plants only to find out half a century later that it is destroying the environment and ecosystem. Not to mention it was used abundantly worldwide for decades and now it is even showing up in dust from the Sahara Desert as well as Arctic ice samples. It is highly unlikely any endosulfan was applied to any crops out in the middle of the Sahara Desert or up in the Arctic. Now being left with a few decades of organochlorine pesticide to clean up with such a vast range of areas affected by it due to long range atmospheric transport how would such a process take place? Is there a way to balance economical pest control and environmental pollution?
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has defined the term of pesticide, “As any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying or controlling any pest, including vectors of human or animal disease, unwanted species of plants or animals causing harm during or otherwise interfering with the production, processing, storage, transport, or marketing of food, agricultural commodities, wood and wood products or animal feedstuffs, or substances which may be administered to animals for the control of insects, arachnids or other pests in or on their bodies.” There are many subclasses of pesticides, two of which include insecticides and acaricides. These subclasses can be grouped into chemical families. Some of the common chemical families of insecticides are organochlorines, organophosphates, and carbamates. (Vivekanandhan and Duraisamy 2012)
Over 40 years ago the organochlorine pesticides were introduced. At the time they seemed to be great and they worked, however after widespread use throughout the world they have proved to persist for long periods of time in the environment, bioaccumulate and undergo biomagnification. This poses risks of toxicity to non-target organisms of which include human beings. Examples of organochlorine pesticides include BHC, DDT, heptachlor, and aldrin. Among this class of substances also exists endosulfan. (Vivekanandhan and Duraisamy 2012)
Endosulfan is the third-largest selling insecticide worldwide. (Antonious et al. 2012) As an insecticide it is used to control various insects on a wide range of crops, including soy, cotton, tea, hazelnut, fruits, cereals, maize, and other grains. (Wang et al. 2012) It acts a residual insecticide instead of a systemic insecticide which means that it acts as a contact poison on chewing and sucking arthropods. (Antonious et al. 2012) It was developed in the 1950’s and in 1954 Hoechst AG won the USDA’s approval of endosulfan use in the United States. (Vivekanandhan and Duraisamy 2012)
When hexachlorocyclopentadiene is reacted with cis-buteno-1, 4-diol in a Diels-Alder reaction and then that product undergoes a reaction with thionyl chloride, endosulfan is produced. Technical endosulfan...

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