PESTICIDES: BOON OR CURSE

An increase in population demands, an increase in food supply and with it increases the need for production of food sources. So as to stabilize the food supply rate, ways are found out to increase the cultivation of different crops. The use of pesticides too hikes when an increase in production of food is demanded.

The term pesticide covers a wide range of compounds including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, molluscicides, nematicides, plant growth regulators and others.

Pesticides are used worldwide to manage agricultural pests. They kill and repel unwanted pests, but also cause harms to the environment in different ways.

The production of pesticides started in India in 1952 with the establishment of a plant for the production of BHC near Calcutta, and India is now the second largest manufacturer of pesticides in Asia after China and ranks twelfth globally.

If the credits of pesticides include enhanced economic potential in terms of increased production of food and fibre, and amelioration of vector-borne diseases, then their debits have resulted in serious health implications to man and his environment. There is now overwhelming evidence that some of these chemicals do pose a potential risk to humans and other life forms and unwanted side effects to the environment.

According to The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 9 of the 12 most dangerous and persistent chemicals are pesticides. Highly hazardous pesticides may have acute and/or chronic toxic effects and pose a particular risk.

The high-risk groups exposed to pesticides include production workers, formulators, sprayers, mixers, loaders and agricultural farm workers. During manufacture and formulation, the possibility of hazards may be higher because the processes involved are not risk-free. In industrial settings, workers are at increased risk since they handle various toxic chemicals including pesticides, raw materials, toxic solvents and inert carriers.

The symptoms of pesticide poisoning can range from a mild skin irritation to coma or even death. Acute health problems may occur in workers that handle pesticides, such as abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, as well as skin and eye problems. In China, an estimated half million people are poisoned by pesticides each year, 500 of whom die. Pyrethrins, insecticides commonly used in common bug killers, can cause a potentially deadly condition if breathed in.

Another major problem associated with pesticide use is bioaccumulation and biological magnification. Bioaccumulation is when a substance builds up in the body because the body does not have the proper mechanisms to remove it. Many synthetic pesticides are not able to be broken down. Once they enter the body of an organism, they are permanently stored in the body tissue. The pesticides that accumulate in an organism’s body can cause harm to the organism or can be passed on to a predator.

Pesticides can contaminate soil, water, turf, and other vegetation. In addition to killing insects or weeds, pesticides can be toxic to a host of other organisms including birds, fish, beneficial insects, and non-target plants.

In India, the first report of poisoning due to pesticides was from Kerala in 1958, where over 100 people died after consuming wheat flour contaminated with parathion (Karunakaran, 1958).

According to WHO data, in 2012 an estimated 193,460 people died worldwide from unintentional poisoning. Of these deaths, 84% occurred in low- and middle-income countries. In the same year, unintentional poisoning caused the loss of over 10.7 million years of healthy life (disability adjusted life years, DALYs).

Nearly a million people die each year as a result of suicide, and chemicals account for a significant number of these deaths. For example, it is estimated that deliberate ingestion of pesticides causes 370,000 deaths each year. The number of these deaths can be reduced by limiting the availability of, and access to, highly toxic pesticides.

Pesticides can contaminate soil, water, turf, and other vegetation. In addition to killing insects or weeds, pesticides can be toxic to a host of other organisms including birds, fish, beneficial insects, and non-target plants. Insecticides are generally the most acutely toxic class of pesticides, but herbicides can also pose risks to non-target organisms.

10 samples of pesticides, insecticides fail quality check

Wed, 09 Aug 2017

BATHINDA: The Punjab agriculture department has issued notices to six companies manufacturing pesticides and insecticides after some samples failed the quality check. “Bains said the agriculture department was serious about the quality of pesticides and insecticides as the low quality products could cause loss to the cotton crop and hurt farmers’ interests. As many as 22 samples were collected from Fazilka, 27 from Bathinda and 51 samples were collected from Mansa and Muktsar. As per the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), samples have tolerance limit up to 10% to clear the quality check in the first category, 5% in the second category and 3-5% in the third category. Seven samples from Fazilka and three from Bathinda failed the inspection.

Eggs contaminated with ‘potentially harmful’ pesticide being sold in UK

Eggs contaminated with the ‘potentially harmful’ pesticide fipronil have been distributed in the UK, after warnings from the EU sparked panic across the continent.

Aldi and Lidl stores in Germany have already taken millions of eggs off shelves amid fears they have tainted with traces of the pesticide Fipronil.

EU bodies immediately notified food safety authorities in Britain, France, Sweden, and Switzerland after it emerged that eggs contaminated with the insecticide may have entered their territories.

Supermarket giant Aldi said it was a ‘purely precautionary’ measure and added that eggs sold in its UK stores were produced in Britain.

The Food Standards Agency has reassured buyers that the actual number of eggs sprayed with the insecticide in the UK is ‘very small’.

And the risk to public health is reportedly ‘very low’, the FSA added, although the World Health Organisation warns that the pesticide is moderately toxic.

The WHO considers fipronil to be moderately toxic, and says very large quantities can cause organ damage.

Belgian and Dutch authorities are now investigating how the insecticide came into illegal contact with egg-laying chickens.

C Tech Corporation offers a non-toxic and non-hazardous product, Combirepel™ to protect the agricultural applications from the ravenous insects and rodents. It is an environmentally safe product that works by repelling the insects without causing any harm to the target or non-target species. Combirepel™ is available in concentrate and lacquer form. It can also be used as a liquid solution for topical coating. Combirepel™ can be safely incorporated into the agricultural application while they are being manufactured. Combirepel™ can be incorporated in agricultural films and mulches for the protection of trees and bushes against these creatures.