By Aleem Malik, Weekly Pulse, May 03, 2013
Pesticides are used to kill organisms that cause disease and threaten public health. Everyone knows that pesticides are chemicals and these pesticides are among those kinds of chemicals that are designed, produced, and sold to kill. Even the name “pesticides” was invented to indicate death to “pests”.
The toxicity of a pesticide is measured through its capacity to cause injury or illness, depending on the chemical and physical properties of a substance that how much it leaves bad impacts and bio chemical changes in normal body functions. Exposure to a sufficient amount of almost any pesticide can affect a person either through illness, eye diseases or skin sensitivity. Even though those low risk pesticides that contain lees quantity of toxicity can affect human skin eyes nose and mouth.
Pesticides can enter into the body through certain ways that is through the mouth and digestive system, through the skin or by inhalation through the nose and respiratory system. It may occur any time a pesticide is mixed, applied, or handled, and it is often undetected. Because their mode of action is not specific to single specie therefore they often kill or harm those organisms that were not the primary target including human beings.
Most toxic effects are reversible and do not cause permanent damage if prompt medical treatment is sought However, some poisons cause irreversible (permanent) damage. Different classes or families of chemicals cause different types of symptoms. Individuals also vary in their sensitivity to different levels of these chemicals.
A severe exposure to a pesticide may cause effects such as nausea, chest pain and vomiting while gradually it leads to increase in breathing difficulty, skin sensitization (allergy), asthma, and hypersensitivity after repeated use of a pesticide. As the occurrence of a disease or condition initiated by previous exposure the development of cancer is possible, ability to induce tumor growth and genetic change as well. It can cause chronic effects resulting from kidney, liver damage – death of liver cells, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), fibrosis and cirrhosis. Long exposure can result in birth defects as well as reproductive disorders – such as reduced sperm count, sterility, and birth defects and miscarriage.
The contact with pesticides can cause neurological disorders like memory loss, loss of coordination, reduced speed of response to stimuli, reduced visual ability, altered or uncontrollable mood and general behavior, and reduced motor skills.
These symptoms are often very subtle and may not be recognized by the medical community as a clinical effect. Children are at greater risk from exposure to pesticides because of their small size: relative to their size, children eat, drink, and breathe more than adults. Their bodies and organs are growing rapidly, which also makes them more susceptible; in fact, children may be exposed to pesticides even while in the womb.
It is essential to understand pesticide toxicity in order to follow safe use practices and eliminate exposure. Obviously manufacturers placed warning labels on their products, because the regulatory departments insist on it but we don’t bother to follow those instruction even most of us do not read those warnings.
Let’s continue to seek ways to better our environment and at the same time reduce our use of chemicals and pesticides in particular to save humans and our coming generations.