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What is a Pesticide and What are Its Uses?

Pesticides in water

 Pesticides are one of the volatile organic compounds found in the environment. Volatile organic compounds are rapidly evaporating chemicals that are created by man.

There are different types of volatile organic compounds aside from pesticides. Those are gasoline, kerosene, thinner used for painting, insecticides and even arsenic. Pesticides are commonly used to kills or control pests. 

A pesticide is chemically designed to kill pests, though not to a specific species but is toxic enough to also kill a human being.

Pesticides are formulated to be Active or Inert. Active pesticide ingredients are chemical ingredients that directly kill pests and inert pesticide ingredients are chemicals that weren’t thoroughly tested unlike active pesticides.

Inert pesticides are seldom labeled on the product ingredients since they have no direct use to kill pest, for example solvents.

Pesticides aren’t very specific when it comes to uses, and according to the World Health Organization, an estimate of 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning are reported each year.

What are the different types of Pesticides and how can they affect us?

According to the Department of Health, there are different types of pesticides are commonly used nowadays. Grouped according to their use, these common pesticides are:

  • Insecticides
  • Herbicides
  • Rodenticides
  • Bactericides
  • Fungicides
  • Larvicides

Insecticides are chemically designed to kill insects like mosquitoes, cockroaches and ants. Insecticides are manufactured in different forms; the most common type that is used today is aerosol sprays. Herbicides are pesticides used in plants.

The techniques of applying is by planting herbicides along with the plants, however since there are edible plants like fruits and vegetables, this technique of implicating herbicides are now contraindicated for it can lead to toxicity and sometimes death when consumed in large amount.

According to the Department of Health, the safest way to apply herbicides is by spraying it on plants. Rodenticides are chemically produced to control and kill rodents like rats and mice.

The most common form of rodenticides is pastes and grains. Bactericides, is a group of pesticides that are used to kill bacteria.

Bacteria are most commonly found in water. With the use of bactericide, it inhibits bacterial growth that can cause diseases.

Fungicides are another group of pesticides that are used to control fungi. Fungicides are also used to treat skin problems that are caused by fungi as well.

Lastly, larvicides are used to kill larvae of insects and rodents to prevent them from maturing and be the cause of infestation, may it be by disease that can lead to death.

Helpful as they are, pesticides help by controlling pests; these pesticides can also cause lethality to human health.

When exposed, pesticides can cause loss of memory, decreased response to stimulus, mood swings and altered recognition and can cause of reduced motor skills.

The causes of these symptoms are due to the long exposure to active chemical ingredients used in pesticides.

Namely, some of these chemical ingredients are Acephate, Bifenthrin, Boric Acid, Bromiadolone, Capsaicin, Carbaryl, Chlordane, Oil of Citronella, Copper Sulphate, Hexaflumuron, Hydropene, Iron Phosphate, Malathion, Naphthalene, Neem Oil, Piperonyl Butoxide, Potassium Salts, Triclopyr, Zinc Phosphate and Zinc Sulfate.

A few of these chemicals are also used in pharmaceutical industry to make therapeutic drugs. When taken more than the trace amount, these chemicals can cause certain disorders like allergies, asthma and hypersensitivity.

Pesticides have been linked to the growth of cancer cells, hormonal disturbances, reproductive and fetal development.

There are certain pesticides as well that has little to no effect in human health when used. Such chemicals are:

  • Organic Pyrethrin
  • Organochlorine Pesticides
  • Synthetic Pyrethroids
  • Organophosphorus insecticides
  • Carbamate Insecticides 

These chemicals have low toxicity level compared to the active ingredients that are most commonly used in commercial insecticides. Derived from chrysanthemum flower, organic pyrethrin kills a wide range of pests.

The good thing of using organic pyrethrin is that it is biodegradable and almost leaves no residue, thus making it environmentally friendly and is recommended to be used by the Department of Health.

On the other hand, synthetic pyrethroids are man-made pesticides that have a low toxicity level to human and can effectively kill different species of pests.

Pesticides like Organochlorine, Organophosphorus and Carbamate have been discontinued due to the grave effects it causes to the environment and can remain active for years.

 

Where can we find pesticides and how can we prevent toxicity?

Pesticides are present anywhere in the environment. Pesticides are also one of the common causes of pollution.

Mostly causing air pollution that makes the ozone layer thin, pesticides are also causing water pollution that can be very dangerous to our health, most especially when it get mixed up with our drinking water.

Most commonly used at home to control pests, pesticides can sometimes contaminate our drinking water. Known as a rapidly evaporating chemical, pesticides can seep through soil and go directly to broken or cracked water lines.

Though filtered and purified, water can still be contaminated at home. Due to that fact, it has been reported that death by pesticide poisoning usually happens at home. Knowing that, the assurance of safety at home is now doubtful.

There are certain ways to make sure that pesticide poisoning can be prevented. One way is to make sure that the pesticide containers are tightly closed and spill proof.

Fixing broken or cracked water lines can ensure that pesticides cannot leak through, and making sure that the family is drinking water that has no trace of chemicals present.

Good news! There is now a way to ensure that these chemicals and other disease-causing microorganisms can now be removed from your drinking water!

At the safety or your home, you can now filter and purify drinking water to its clearest and purest state.

Scientifically tested and proven, Berkey have microfilaments that can filter sediments and remove turbidity that are caused by chemicals and disease-causing microorganism such as bacteria and viruses.

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