Usage of toxic pesticides for managing pest issues has become a common practice around the world. Pesticides are used almost everywhere - besides agricultural fields, they are finding regular usage in homes, parks, schools, buildings, forests and roads.
One research report points out that exposure to pesticide residues on vegetables and fruit may double a child’s risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that can cause inattention, hyperactivity and impassivity in children.
Pesticides are also linked to short term impacts such as headaches and nausea to chronic impacts like cancer, reproductive harm and endocrine disruption.
Acute dangers such as nerve, skin and eye irritation and damage, headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and systemic poisoning - can sometimes be dramatic and even occasionally fatal Chronic health effects may occur years after even minimal exposure to pesticides in the environment
Another report points out that a six fold increase in risk factor for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) for children of women who were exposed to organochlorine pesticides.
Pesticides are also responsible for causing certain types of cancer in human beings; some of the most prevalent forms include leukemia, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, brain, bone, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular and liver cancers.
A report says children who live in homes where their parents use pesticides are twice as likely to develop cancer versus than those that live in residences in which no pesticides are used.
There is mounting evidence that exposure to pesticides disrupts the endocrine system, wreaking havoc with the complex regulation of hormones, the reproductive system and embryonic development. Endocrine disruption can cause infertility and a variety of birth defects and developmental defects in offspring, including hormonal imbalance and incomplete sexual development, impaired brain development, behavioral disorders and many others.
Pesticide usage can also damage agricultural land by harming beneficial insect species, soil micro-organisms and worms which naturally limit pest populations and maintain soil health; weakening plant root systems and immune systems and reducing concentrations of essential plant nutrients in the soil such nitrogen and phosphorous.
Some chemical agents present in pesticides known as chloropicrin are also linked to asthma and pulmonary edema and chlorothanonil, a probable human carcinogen.
Based on the above findings, it clearly emerges that usage of pesticides is linked to so many problems including big health issues as well. Environmental lovers would love to see that our food, our air, our water and our soil remains free from toxic chemicals.
The solution lies in usage of non toxic and traditional methods of agriculture also known as organic farming and sustainable methods of pest control. The above subject matter is an important area where research is needed on a continuing basis till some viable and good solutions are found out.
In some parts of India, as a solution, it is believed that neem leaves mixed with cattle's urine is one of the organic farming practices for the pest and disease control – it says, the method is simple – first dip the crushed neem leaves extract in cattle urine container for 8 hours and then the extract is becomes ready for spraying and it can control some pests like affids, butterflies.
Urine acts as a pest repellent and liquid fertilizer for plants. Some other reports point out that dried neem leaves and neem seed oil have been traditionally used to protect stored foods and fabrics from damages caused by insects. Its usage as a pesticide has triggered scientific research.
A special chemical has been identified in neem that prevents insects from feeding and reproducing properly.
In some rural areas of India, some food containers are inside painted with a mixture of cow dung, clay and neem oil including the walls and floor of the storage area – this mixture would deter insects from landing on the walls.
Perhaps, it is time to treat the regular usage of pesticides as a matter of serious health concern for mankind and therefore ways and means should be found out as best alternatives for usage of pesticides.
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