pesticides





ARE WE TRYING TO CONTROL THE UNCONTROLLABLE
By Nancy Michaud


When I was a child, I can remember my parents taking me into the apple orchard and picking apples. I couldn’t wait to eat them until I got home, so I would have one for a snack right in the middle of the field. Today, when I take my children apple picking, I cannot let the children eat an apple out of fear of what pesticides could be on the apple and the harmful affects they can cause. Instead I have to take them home and scrub them before they can even take a bite. This is the result of the harmful pesticides that have left their mark on our argriculture.

A pest is any species that competes with us for food invades our homes and gardens, destroys wood in houses, spreads disease, or is simply a nuisance in our natural ecosystem. In many polyculture agroecosytems, natural enemies such as predators parasites in disease organisms control the population between 50 and 90 percent of the pest species(Miller, 1998).

When we keep the natural ecosystem simple we upset the natural checks and balances. The natural system keeps any form of pest from taking over before too long. We have devised ways to protect our crops, tree farms, and lawns from insect and other pests that nature could have once controlled.

We have done this by primarily developing a variety of pesticides. Pesticides are chemicals created to kill organisms that we consider undesirable. Some types of pesticides include insecticides which are insect killers, herbicide which are weed killers, fungicides which are fungus killers, nematocides which are round eat worm killers, and rodenticides which are rat in mouse killers.

According to the EPA, worldwide and we used to 2.5 million tons of these pesticides annually that breaks down to approximately one pound for each person on earth. About 75 percent of these chemicals are being used in developed countries but is now soaring in the developing countries.

In the United States approximately 25 percent of pesticide use is for ridding house, gardens, lawns, playingfields, swimming pools, and golf courses of unwanted pests. According to the EPA, the average lawn in the United States is doused with more than ten times the needed amount of insecticides. Each year more than 200,000 U.S. residents become a ill because of household use of pesticides resulting from accidental poisoning.

Broad spectrum agents are toxic to many species while others called selective or in narrow spectrum agents are effective against barely defined groups of organisms. Pesticides very in their persistence in the length of time they remain deadly in the environment.

Supporters of pesticides state they save human lives, increase food supply, lower food costs, increased profits for farmers, in the field that the health risks are in significant compared to the benefits(Miller, 1998).

Since 1945, EDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbon and organic bio phosphate insecticides have probably prevented the premature deaths of at least 7 million people from inset transmitted diseases such as malaria (mosquito), bubonic plague(rat fleas), typhus(body lice), and sleeping sickness(tsetse fly).

About 55 percent of the world’s human food supply is lost to pests before or after harvest in the United States. An estimated 37 percent of the potential food supply is destroyed due to insect or plant pathogens in weeds without pesticides, the losses would be worse and food prices would rise by 30 to 50 percent.

Pesticide companies estimate that every one dollar spent on pesticides leads to an increase in U.S. crops worth approximately 4 dollars. Studies have shown that the benefit drops to about 2 dollars if the harmful attacks the pesticides are included (Miller, 1998).

According to Elizabeth Whelan, director for the American council on science and held the she says “the reality is that pesticides, when used in the uproot may enter, pose no way as to either bomb workers or consumers.” supporters of pesticides also state that the media records describing the harm are distorted and irresponsible reporting.

Opponents of the use of pesticides believe that side effects outweighed their benefits. The biggest problem is the development of genetic resistance to pesticides by pest organisms. Insects breed rapidly and within 5 to 10 years (much sooner in tropical areas) develop immunity through natural selection and comeback stronger than they