Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances that are applied for the purpose of controlling, destroying, repelling and preventing various pests from destroying foods and plants. Pests are organisms that appear on many crops, animals and even humans, and cause damage or destruction. Some examples of various pests include various insects, slugs, snails, plant diseases, weeds, mice and other vermin that carry disease as well as various viruses and bacteria, fungi and prions. There are also many household products that are considered to be pesticides or contain dangerous pesticide chemicals.
Insecticides are referred to as “systemic” chemicals and can also be either absorbed, fed or injected into plants or animals for defense against various pests. When the insect or pests attempt to feed off of the insecticide-injected plant or animal, the pests ingest the chemical and are destroyed. Pesticides are various chemicals used to defray pests, unwanted plant diseases or fungi. Insecticides also require either direct contact with pests or either ingestion of the insecticide to successfully kill the pest. Some pesticides require direct contact for pests to be destroyed or repelled away, and some require ingestion of the pesticide for the pesticide to work effectively. Some believe that in order to defeat all pests and not just a few; the pesticide may need to be set as bait as opposed to being used as a spray. Introducing pesticides as bait is also believed to be less pricey and much more efficient.
There are presently more than 865 recorded pesticides according to the Environmental Protection Agency. However, fewer than half of the pesticides are employed for the protection of the United States food supply. Large scale spraying that may take place on farms may be dangerous too, as evidenced by numbers of health problems such as the development of cancer in higher rates among farm workers, and among those who live near farms.
Many people were alerted to the potential dangers of pesticides when studies on the product 2-Chloro-5-(chloromethyl)pyridine with the molecular formula C6H5Cl2, which was widely used as a pesticide, revealed that this product affected people and animals. For people, 2-Chloro-5-(chloromethyl)pyridine(CAS: 70258-18-3) could cause increased risk of liver cancer, respiratory problems, damage to the central nervous system, and difficulty with reproduction. Some bird populations were nearly destroyed by the widespread use of this chemical, and in 1972 a number of countries banned its use, though there are still some that use it The chemical was thought safe but evidence found that it contaminated water, could be found in fish that were eaten, and even was present in human breast milk.
Environmentalists advocate for greatly reducing and/or completely eliminating chemical spraying. Others seek a middle ground, where most pesticide use would be reduced or very strictly controlled. Yet other groups believe that most pesticides used today are safe for humans. However, evidence in this area tends not to always support this belief.