Chemicals In Crops

HEALTH EFFECTS OF COMMONLY USED PESTICIDES

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Pesticides are used in agriculture. The consequences are grave because of its indiscriminate use. Although the manufacture, distribution, and sale is governed by legislations, the risks of unregulated usage are high. Not only do pesticides damage the soil health, they also come with long-term health hazards. 

DDT (Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloroethane)

DDT was initially used by in World War II to control malaria, typhus, body lice, and bubonic plague. Later, farmers used DDT on a variety of food crops as an insecticide. 

Effect
Extensive research showed that DDT is harmful due to its long persistence in the environment, accumulation in fatty tissues causing liver damage, including possible cancer and adverse health effects on wildlife. In spite of its negatives, DDT is still used today in South America, Africa, and Asia.

Chlorpyrifos

This specific pesticide was created in the 1960s by the Dow Chemical Company. Chlorpyrifos was used especially in home gardening, and can now be found in cotton, almonds, oranges, apples, and corn crops. 

Effects
This pesticide can have a wide range of health effects, from a mild headache to more serious conditions such as respiratory paralysis, and a high risk of ADHD.

Malathion

Malathion is an insecticide in the chemical family known as organophosphates. Products containing malathion are used outdoors to control a wide variety of insects such as mosquitoes and fruit flies in agricultural settings and around people’s homes. Malathion may also be found in some special shampoos for treating lice. 

Effects
Studies have shown links between regular exposure to malathion and various human maladies, including non-Hodgkins lymphoma, childhood leukemia, anemia, chromosome damage, and weakened immune systems.

Metolachlor

Metolachlor is a broad spectrum herbicide used for general weed control in many agricultural food and feed crops (primarily corn, soybeans and sorghum), and on lawns and turf, ornamental plants, trees, shrubs and vines, and in forestry. 

Effects
Research has shown it to be a possible carcinogen and a suspected endocrine disruptor.

Endosulfan

This insecticide is being phased out across the world due to its dangerous effects. It was introduced in agriculture across the world to control pests such as whiteflies, aphids, leafhoppers and cabbage worms.

Effects
Endosulfan was found to cause neurotoxicity, late sexual maturity, physical deformities, poisoning, among others.

Dieldrin

Originally developed in the 1940s as an alternative to DDT, dieldrin proved to be a highly effective insecticide and was very widely used during the 1950s to early 1970s. However, it is an extremely persistent organic pollutant, i.e. it does not easily break down. Moreover, it tends to biomagnify as it is passed along the food chain. 

Effects
In humans, it has been linked to health problems such as Parkinson’s, breast cancer and damage to the immune, reproductive and nervous system. 

Glyphosate

This herbicide is applied to the leaves of plants to kill both broadleaf plants and grasses, especially in crops such as genetically-modified soy, corn, canola, and cotton, as well as in home gardens and parks. 

Effects
Glyphosate has been linked to birth defects, neurological disorders, fertility issues, and even cancer.

Atrazine

Atrazine is an agricultural herbicide that is widely used by farmers to control broadleaf weeds and grasses that interfere with the growth of corn, sorghum, sugar cane, and other crops. Atrazine is also used as a weed killer on golf courses as well as a variety of commercial and residential lawns. 

Effects
This pesticide is a proven endocrine disruptor, increasing the risk of birth defects, infertility, and possibly cancer.

Metam Sodium

This pesticide is a widely used soil fumigant, pesticide, herbicide and fungicide, usually applied to potatoes. 

Effects
It can have side effects like nausea, difficulty breathing, vomiting, hormone disruption, and birth defects.

Paraquat

Paraquat is widely used as an herbicide to kill a wide range of annual grasses and broad-leaved weeds and the tips of established perennial weeds. 

Effects
It has been linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease and is banned in several countries. 

Sl. No. CROP MAJOR PESTICIDE USED HARMFUL EFFECTS
1 RICE Chlorpyrifos , Phorate Chronic neurobehavioral effects like persistent headache, blurred vision, unusual fatigue
2 TURMERIC Carbendazim Disrupts development of mammals in the womb
3 REDGRAM Profenofos , Quinolphos Anti choline esterase
    Ethion Severe depression, irritability, insomnia
4 GREENGRAM Monocrotophos Toxic to humans
5 GROUNDNUT Cypermethrin Human carcinogen
6 BENGALGRAM Dimethoate Carcinogenicity, birth defects, reproductive toxicity
7 CHILLIES Acephate Carcinogenic, Reproductive Toxicity
8 MANGO Fenvelrate Reduction in weight
9 GINGER Methomyl Flu like symptoms, lack of appetite, muscle ache
10 COFFEE Lindane Chronic liver damage Hepatitis, Breast cancer
11 WHEAT Isoproturon Tumour promoter
12 SUGARCANE Atrazine Cancer of Testes
13 PEAS Triazophos Anti choline esterase
14 CARDOMOM Triazophos Anti choline esterase
15 FENNEL Chlorpyrifos Chronic neurobehavioral effects like persistent headache, blurred vision, unusual fatigue
16 CUMIN Mancozeb Enlargement of Thyroid gland

Source : CENTRE  FOR  SCIENCE  AND ENVIRONMENT ( http://www.cseindia.org)

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