Taking a look at the numbers; according to the EPA approximately 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States. (“Pesticide news story,” 2012) This number is closely regulated to keep usage under control; however it is a climbing number that affects both human and environmental health. To get a better understanding of a pesticide; it is any agent used to kill or control undesired insects, weeds, rodents, fungi, bacteria, or other organisms. They are classified according to their functions of either: insecticides to control insects; rodenticides to control rodents; herbicides to control weeds; and fungicides to control fungi, mold and mildew. The most common pesticide used by farmers, landscapers, and home owners are herbicides which tend to come in contact with our food before it hits the table and it doesn’t sound appetizing.
How are we harming health? When an applicator applies the chemicals on a yearly routine, the insects become immune, weeds reappear in a month, and the air we breathe is contaminated along with any plant and water supply it comes in contact with. When herbicides are sprayed on weeds, take a look at their surroundings. You will see another shade of green within inches or even within the weed. The chemical then sits and is being absorbed into everything it comes in contact with, and will be there until it can no longer survive. As most people believe the weeds die, well they don’t.
What happens to the weeds? When a weed is sprayed, the chemical is interfering with the synthesis of the aromatic amino acids, which doesn’t allow the weed to grow causing it to shrivel up. The active ingredient causing the weed to shrivel is Glysophate. Glysophate is the most popular chemical present which allows crops, gardens, and grasses to live while getting rid of the weeds. Working with the grounds crew here at the university, chemicals are being sprayed on a daily basis on trees, plants, grasses, and neighboring fields by the pounds.
So, what else is being affected? What many people are not aware of is the carryover. Many annual types of forage are sensitive to herbicide carryover, such as fields of hay, corn, soybeans, alfalfa, as well as cattle and other animals that are later processed and prepared for the supermarket. The surrounding areas around pesticide sprayed fields are also contaminated due to downwind drafts. Then the following year when farmers begin to plant their new crops, herbicide carryover is present and unknown to many people who apply the chemical. The presence of the chemical will affect the growth and health of the crop. So are we really helping or hurting health in the world? It seems as if we are destroying the environment, affecting human and animal health, and we are also destroying the fact of our home grown foods. By lowering dosage and use of these harmful chemicals we can make a change towards natural foods.
Pesticide news story: Epa releases report containing latest estimates of pesticide use in the united states. (2012, October 10). Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/cb/csb_page/updates/2011/sales-usage06-07.html