Pesticide
Overview
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.
A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent (such as a virus or bacterium), antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest
Pest (animal)
A pest is an animal which is detrimental to humans or human concerns. It is a loosely defined term, often overlapping with the related terms vermin, weeds, parasites and pathogens...

. Pests include insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s, plant pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

s, weeds, molluscs
Mollusca
The Mollusca , common name molluscs or mollusksSpelled mollusks in the USA, see reasons given in Rosenberg's ; for the spelling mollusc see the reasons given by , is a large phylum of invertebrate animals. There are around 85,000 recognized extant species of molluscs. Mollusca is the largest...

, bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s, mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s, fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, nematodes (roundworms), and microbes that destroy property, spread disease or arevector for disease or cause nuisance.
Encyclopedia
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.
A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent (such as a virus or bacterium), antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest
Pest (animal)
A pest is an animal which is detrimental to humans or human concerns. It is a loosely defined term, often overlapping with the related terms vermin, weeds, parasites and pathogens...

. Pests include insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s, plant pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

s, weeds, molluscs
Mollusca
The Mollusca , common name molluscs or mollusksSpelled mollusks in the USA, see reasons given in Rosenberg's ; for the spelling mollusc see the reasons given by , is a large phylum of invertebrate animals. There are around 85,000 recognized extant species of molluscs. Mollusca is the largest...

, bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s, mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s, fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, nematodes (roundworms), and microbes that destroy property, spread disease or arevector for disease or cause nuisance. Although there are benefits to the use of pesticides, some also have drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to humans and other animals. According to the Stockholm Convention
Stockholm Convention
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is an international environmental treaty, signed in 2001 and effective from May 2004, that aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants .- History :...

 on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 9 of the 12 most dangerous and persistent organic chemicals are pesticides. Pesticides are categorized into four main substituent chemicals: herbicides; fungicides; insecticides and bactericides.

Definition

Food and Agriculture Organization
Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

 (FAO) has defined the term of pesticide as:
any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying or controlling any pest, including vectors of human or animal disease, unwanted species of plants or animals causing harm during or otherwise interfering with the production, processing, storage, transport or marketing of food, agricultural commodities, wood and wood products or animal feedstuffs, or substances which may be administered to animals for the control of insects, arachnids or other pests in or on their bodies. The term includes substances intended for use as a plant growth regulator, defoliant, desiccant or agent for thinning fruit or preventing the premature fall of fruit. Also used as substances applied to crops either before or after harvest to protect the commodity from deterioration during storage and transport.

Type of Pesticide Target Pest Group
Algicides or Algaecide
Algaecide
An algaecide or algicide is a substance used for killing and preventing the growth of algae.-Natural algicides:Barley straw, in England, is placed in mesh bags and floated in fish ponds or water gardens to help reduce algal growth without harming pond plants and animals...

s
Algae
Algae
Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many...

Avicide
Avicide
An avicide is any substance which can be used to kill birds.Commonly used avicides include strychnine, DRC-1339 and CPTH , and Avitrol . Chloralose is also used as an avicide...

s
Bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s
Bactericides Bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

Fungicide
Fungicide
Fungicides are chemical compounds or biological organisms used to kill or inhibit fungi or fungal spores. Fungi can cause serious damage in agriculture, resulting in critical losses of yield, quality and profit. Fungicides are used both in agriculture and to fight fungal infections in animals...

s
Fungi
Fungus
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

 and Oomycetes
Insecticide
Insecticide
An insecticide is a pesticide used against insects. They include ovicides and larvicides used against the eggs and larvae of insects respectively. Insecticides are used in agriculture, medicine, industry and the household. The use of insecticides is believed to be one of the major factors behind...

s
Insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s
Miticide
Miticide
Acaricides are pesticides that kill members of the Acari group, which includes ticks and mites.Acaricides are used both in medicine and agriculture, although the desired selective toxicity differs between the two fields.-Terminology:...

s or Acaricides
Mite
Mite
Mites, along with ticks, are small arthropods belonging to the subclass Acari and the class Arachnida. The scientific discipline devoted to the study of ticks and mites is called acarology.-Diversity and systematics:...

s
Molluscicide
Molluscicide
Molluscicides, also known as snail baits and snail pellets, are pesticides against molluscs, which are usually used in agriculture or gardening to control gastropod pests like slugs and snails that can damage crops by feeding on them....

s
Snail
Snail
Snail is a common name applied to most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have coiled shells in the adult stage. When the word is used in its most general sense, it includes sea snails, land snails and freshwater snails. The word snail without any qualifier is however more often...

s
Nematicide
Nematicide
A nematicide is a type of chemical pesticide used to kill parasitic nematodes.One common nematicide is obtained from neem cake, the residue obtained after cold-pressing the fruit and kernels of the neem tree. Known by several names in the world, the tree was first cultivated in India in ancient...

s
Nematode
Nematode
The nematodes or roundworms are the most diverse phylum of pseudocoelomates, and one of the most diverse of all animals. Nematode species are very difficult to distinguish; over 28,000 have been described, of which over 16,000 are parasitic. It has been estimated that the total number of nematode...

s
Rodenticides Rodent
Rodent
Rodentia is an order of mammals also known as rodents, characterised by two continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing....

s
Virucides Virus
Virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

es


Subclasses of pesticides include: herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, pediculicides, and biocides.

Pesticides can be classified by target organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

, chemical structure, and physical state. Pesticides can also be classed as inorganic, synthetic, or biologicals (biopesticides), although the distinction can sometimes blur. Biopesticide
Biopesticide
Biopesticides include "naturally occurring substances that control pests , microorganisms that control pests , and pesticidal substances produced by plants containing added genetic material or PIPs."Biopesticides are biochemical pesticides that are naturally occurring substances that control pests...

s include microbial pesticides and biochemical pesticides. Plant-derived pesticides, or "botanicals", have been developing quickly. These include the pyrethroid
Pyrethrum
Pyrethrum refers to several Old World plants of the genus Chrysanthemum which are cultivated as ornamentals for their showy flower heads. Pyrethrum is also the name of a natural insecticide made from the dried flower heads of C. cinerariifolium and C...

s, rotenoid
Rotenone
Rotenone is an odorless chemical that is used as a broad-spectrum insecticide, piscicide, and pesticide. It occurs naturally in the roots and stems of several plants such as the jicama vine plant...

s, nicotinoid
Nicotine
Nicotine is an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants that constitutes approximately 0.6–3.0% of the dry weight of tobacco, with biosynthesis taking place in the roots and accumulation occurring in the leaves...

s, and a fourth group that includes strychnine
Strychnine
Strychnine is a highly toxic , colorless crystalline alkaloid used as a pesticide, particularly for killing small vertebrates such as birds and rodents. Strychnine causes muscular convulsions and eventually death through asphyxia or sheer exhaustion...

 and scilliroside
Scilliroside
Scilliroside is a toxic compound derived from the plant Drimia maritima , which is sometimes used as a rodenticide....

.

Many pesticides can be grouped into chemical families. Prominent insecticide families include organochlorines, organophosphate
Organophosphate
An organophosphate is the general name for esters of phosphoric acid. Phosphates are probably the most pervasive organophosphorus compounds. Many of the most important biochemicals are organophosphates, including DNA and RNA as well as many cofactors that are essential for life...

s, and carbamate
Carbamate
Carbamates are organic compounds derived from carbamic acid . A carbamate group, carbamate ester, and carbamic acids are functional groups that are inter-related structurally and often are interconverted chemically. Carbamate esters are also called urethanes.-Synthesis:Carbamic acids are derived...

s. Organochlorine hydrocarbons (e.g. DDT
DDT
DDT is one of the most well-known synthetic insecticides. It is a chemical with a long, unique, and controversial history....

) could be separated into dichlorodiphenylethanes, cyclodiene compounds, and other related compounds. They operate by disrupting the sodium/potassium balance of the nerve fiber, forcing the nerve to transmit continuously. Their toxicities vary greatly, but they have been phased out because of their persistence and potential to bioaccumulate. Organophosphate
Organophosphate
An organophosphate is the general name for esters of phosphoric acid. Phosphates are probably the most pervasive organophosphorus compounds. Many of the most important biochemicals are organophosphates, including DNA and RNA as well as many cofactors that are essential for life...

 and carbamate
Carbamate
Carbamates are organic compounds derived from carbamic acid . A carbamate group, carbamate ester, and carbamic acids are functional groups that are inter-related structurally and often are interconverted chemically. Carbamate esters are also called urethanes.-Synthesis:Carbamic acids are derived...

s largely replaced organochlorines. Both operate through inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase
Acetylcholinesterase
"Acetylcholinesterase, also known as AChE or acetylcholine acetylhydrolase, is an enzyme that degrades the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, producing choline and an acetate group. It is mainly found at neuromuscular junctions and cholinergic nervous system, where its activity serves to terminate...

, allowing acetylcholine
Acetylcholine
The chemical compound acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in both the peripheral nervous system and central nervous system in many organisms including humans...

 to transfer nerve impulses indefinitely and causing a variety of symptoms such as weakness or paralysis. Organophosphates are quite toxic to vertebrates, and have in some cases been replaced by less toxic carbamates. Thiocarbamate and dithiocarbamates are subclasses of carbamates. Prominent families of herbicides include pheoxy and benzoic acid herbicides (e.g. 2,4-D), triazines (e.g. atrazine
Atrazine
Atrazine, 2-chloro-4--6--s-triazine, an organic compound consisting of an s-triazine-ring is a widely used herbicide. Its use is controversial due to widespread contamination in drinking water and its associations with birth defects and menstrual problems when consumed by humans at concentrations...

), ureas (e.g. diuron), and Chloroacetanilides (e.g. alachlor
Alachlor
Alachlor is an herbicide from the chloroacetanilide family. Its mode of action is elongase inhibition, and inhibition of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate cyclisation enzymes, part of the gibberellin pathway.-Uses:...

). Phenoxy compounds tend to selectively kill broadleaved weeds rather than grasses. The phenoxy and benzoic acid herbicides function similar to plant growth hormones, and grow cells without normal cell division, crushing the plants nutrient transport system. Triazines interfere with photsynthesis. Many commonly used pesticides are not included in these families, including glyphosate.

Pesticides can be classified based upon their biological mechanism function or application method. Most pesticides work by poison
Poison
In the context of biology, poisons are substances that can cause disturbances to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism....

ing pests. A systemic pesticide moves inside a plant following absorption by the plant. With insecticides and most fungicides, this movement is usually upward (through the xylem
Xylem
Xylem is one of the two types of transport tissue in vascular plants. . The word xylem is derived from the Classical Greek word ξυλον , meaning "wood"; the best-known xylem tissue is wood, though it is found throughout the plant...

) and outward. Increased efficiency may be a result. Systemic insecticides, which poison pollen
Pollen
Pollen is a fine to coarse powder containing the microgametophytes of seed plants, which produce the male gametes . Pollen grains have a hard coat that protects the sperm cells during the process of their movement from the stamens to the pistil of flowering plants or from the male cone to the...

 and nectar in the flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s, may kill bees and other needed pollinator
Pollinator
A pollinator is the biotic agent that moves pollen from the male anthers of a flower to the female stigma of a flower to accomplish fertilization or syngamy of the female gamete in the ovule of the flower by the male gamete from the pollen grain...

s.

In 2009, the development of a new class of fungicides called paldoxins was announced. These work by taking advantage of natural defense chemicals released by plants called phytoalexins, which fungi then detoxify using enzymes. The paldoxins inhibit the fungi's detoxification enzymes. They are believed to be safer and greener.

Uses

Pesticides are used to control organisms that are considered to be harmful. For example, they are used to kill mosquitoes that can transmit potentially deadly diseases like west nile virus
West Nile virus
West Nile virus is a virus of the family Flaviviridae. Part of the Japanese encephalitis antigenic complex of viruses, it is found in both tropical and temperate regions. It mainly infects birds, but is known to infect humans, horses, dogs, cats, bats, chipmunks, skunks, squirrels, domestic...

, yellow fever
Yellow fever
Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease. The virus is a 40 to 50 nm enveloped RNA virus with positive sense of the Flaviviridae family....

, and malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

. They can also kill bee
Bee
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila...

s, wasp
Wasp
The term wasp is typically defined as any insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is neither a bee nor an ant. Almost every pest insect species has at least one wasp species that preys upon it or parasitizes it, making wasps critically important in natural control of their...

s or ant
Ant
Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than...

s that can cause allergic reactions. Insecticides can protect animals from illnesses that can be caused by parasites
Parasitism
Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship between organisms of different species where one organism, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host. Traditionally parasite referred to organisms with lifestages that needed more than one host . These are now called macroparasites...

 such as flea
Flea
Flea is the common name for insects of the order Siphonaptera which are wingless insects with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood...

s. Pesticides can prevent sickness in humans that could be caused by mold
Mold
Molds are fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Molds are not considered to be microbes but microscopic fungi that grow as single cells called yeasts...

y food or diseased produce. Herbicides can be used to clear roadside weeds, trees and brush. They can also kill invasive weed
Weed
A weed in a general sense is a plant that is considered by the user of the term to be a nuisance, and normally applied to unwanted plants in human-controlled settings, especially farm fields and gardens, but also lawns, parks, woods, and other areas. More specifically, the term is often used to...

s that may cause environmental damage. Herbicides are commonly applied in ponds and lakes to control algae
Algae
Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many...

 and plants such as water grasses that can interfere with activities like swimming and fishing and cause the water to look or smell unpleasant. Uncontrolled pests such as termites and mould can damage structures such as houses. Pesticides are used in grocery stores and food storage facilities to manage rodents and insects that infest food such as grain. Each use of a pesticide carries some associated risk. Proper pesticide use decreases these associated risks to a level deemed acceptable by pesticide regulatory agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 (EPA) and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Canada.

Pesticides can save farmers' money by preventing crop losses to insects and other pests; in the U.S., farmers get an estimated fourfold return on money they spend on pesticides. One study found that not using pesticides reduced crop yields by about 10%. Another study, conducted in 1999, found that a ban on pesticides in the United States may result in a rise of food prices, loss of jobs, and an increase in world hunger.

DDT
DDT
DDT is one of the most well-known synthetic insecticides. It is a chemical with a long, unique, and controversial history....

, sprayed on the walls of houses, is an organochloride that has been used to fight malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 since the 1950s. Recent policy statements by the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 have given stronger support to this approach. Dr. Arata Kochi, WHO's malaria chief, said, "One of the best tools we have against malaria is indoor residual house spraying. Of the dozen insecticides WHO has approved as safe for house spraying, the most effective is DDT." However, since then, an October 2007 study has linked breast cancer from exposure to DDT prior to puberty. Poisoning may also occur due to use of DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons by entering the human food chain when animal tissues are affected. Symptoms include nervous excitement, tremors, convulsions or death. Scientists estimate that DDT and other chemicals in the organophosphate class of pesticides have saved 7 million human lives since 1945 by preventing the transmission of diseases such as malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

, bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

, sleeping sickness, and typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

. However, DDT use is not always effective, as resistance to DDT
Pesticide resistance
Pesticide resistance is the adaptation of pest population targeted by a pesticide resulting in decreased susceptibility to that chemical. In other words, pests develop a resistance to a chemical through natural selection: the most resistant organisms are the ones to survive and pass on their...

 was identified in Africa as early as 1955, and by 1972 nineteen species of mosquito worldwide were resistant to DDT. A study for the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 in 2000 from Vietnam established that non-DDT malaria controls were significantly more effective than DDT use. The ecological effect of DDT on organisms is an example of bioaccumulation
Bioaccumulation
Bioaccumulation refers to the accumulation of substances, such as pesticides, or other organic chemicals in an organism. Bioaccumulation occurs when an organism absorbs a toxic substance at a rate greater than that at which the substance is lost...

.

Amounts

In 2006 and 2008,the world used approximately 5.2 billion pounds of pesticides with herbicides constituting the majority of the world pesticide use at 40% followed by insecticides and fungicides with totals of 17% and 10% respectively. The U.S. in 2006 and 2007, used approximately 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides accounting for 22% of the world total. For conventional pesticides which are used in the agricultural sector as well in industry, commercial, governmental and the home & garden sectors, the U.S. used at total of 857 million pounds, with the agricultural sector accounting for 80% of the conventional pesticide use total. Pesticides are also found in majority of U.S. households with 78 million out of the 105.5 million households indicating that they use some form of pesticide. Currently,there are more than 1,055 active ingredients registered as pesticides, which are put together to produce over 16,000 pesticide products that are being marketed in the United States

Costs

On the cost side of pesticide use there can be a cost to the environment and human health, as well as the cost of the development and research of new pesticides.

Health effects

Pesticides may cause acute and delayed health effects in those who are exposed. Pesticide exposure can cause a variety of adverse health effects. These effects can range from simple irritation of the skin and eyes to more severe effects such as affecting the nervous system, mimicking hormones causing reproductive problems, and also causing cancer. A 2007 systematic review
Systematic review
A systematic review is a literature review focused on a research question that tries to identify, appraise, select and synthesize all high quality research evidence relevant to that question. Systematic reviews of high-quality randomized controlled trials are crucial to evidence-based medicine...

 found that "most studies on non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia showed positive associations with pesticide exposure" and thus concluded that cosmetic use of pesticides should be decreased. Strong evidence also exists for other negative outcomes from pesticide exposure including neurological, birth defects, fetal death, and neurodevelopmental disorder.

The American Medical Association
American Medical Association
The American Medical Association , founded in 1847 and incorporated in 1897, is the largest association of medical doctors and medical students in the United States.-Scope and operations:...

 recommends limiting exposure to pesticides and using safer alternatives: "Particular uncertainty exists regarding the long-term effects of low-dose pesticide exposures. Current surveillance systems are inadequate to characterize potential exposure problems related either to pesticide usage or pesticide-related illnesses…Considering these data gaps, it is prudent…to limit pesticide exposures…and to use the least toxic chemical pesticide or non-chemical alternative."

The World Health Organization and the UN Environment Programme estimate that each year, 3 million workers in agriculture in the developing world experience severe poisoning from pesticides
Pesticide poisoning
A pesticide poisoning occurs when chemicals intended to control a pest affect non-target organisms such as humans, wildlife, or bees.-Cause:The most common exposure scenarios for pesticide-poisoning cases are accidental or suicidal poisonings, occupational exposure, by-stander exposure to...

, about 18,000 of whom die. According to one study, as many as 25 million workers in developing countries may suffer mild pesticide poisoning yearly.

One study found pesticide self-poisoning the method of choice in one third of suicides worldwide, and recommended, among other things, more restrictions on the types of pesticides that are most harmful to humans.

Environmental effect

Pesticide use raises a number of environmental concerns. Over 98% of sprayed insecticides and 95% of herbicides reach a destination other than their target species, including non-target species, air, water and soil. Pesticide drift occurs when pesticides suspended in the air as particles are carried by wind to other areas, potentially contaminating them. Pesticides are one of the causes of water pollution
Water pollution
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies . Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds....

, and some pesticides are persistent organic pollutants and contribute to soil contamination
Soil contamination
Soil contamination or soil pollution is caused by the presence of xenobiotic chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment....

.

In addition, pesticide use reduces biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

, reduces nitrogen fixation
Nitrogen fixation
Nitrogen fixation is the natural process, either biological or abiotic, by which nitrogen in the atmosphere is converted into ammonia . This process is essential for life because fixed nitrogen is required to biosynthesize the basic building blocks of life, e.g., nucleotides for DNA and RNA and...

, contributes to pollinator decline
Pollinator decline
The term pollinator decline refers to the reduction in abundance of pollinators in many ecosystems worldwide during the end of the twentieth century....

, destroys habitat (especially for birds), and threatens endangered species
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

.

Pests can develop a resistance to the pesticide (pesticide resistance
Pesticide resistance
Pesticide resistance is the adaptation of pest population targeted by a pesticide resulting in decreased susceptibility to that chemical. In other words, pests develop a resistance to a chemical through natural selection: the most resistant organisms are the ones to survive and pass on their...

), necessitating a new pesticide. Alternatively a greater dose of the pesticide can be used to counteract the resistance, although this will cause a worsening of the ambient pollution problem.

Economics

Harm Annual US Cost
Public Health $1.1 billion
Pesticide Resistance in Pest $1.5 billion
Crop Losses Caused by Pesticides $1.4 billion
Bird Losses due to Pesticides $2.2 billion
Groundwater Contamination $2.0 billion
Other Costs $1.4 billion
Total Costs $9.6 billion


Human health and environmental cost from pesticides in the United States is a total of $9.6 billion:

Additional cost includes the registration process and the cost of purchase pesticides. The registration process can take several years to complete the 70 different types of field test and can cost between $50–70 million for a single pesticide. Annually the United States spends $10 billion on pesticides.

Benefits

There are two levels of benefits for pesticide use, primary and secondary. Primary benefits are direct gains from the use of pesticides and secondary benefits are effects that are more long-term.

Primary benefits

1. Controlling pests and plant disease vectors
  • Improved crop/livestock yields
  • Improved crop/livestock quality
  • Invasive species controlled

2. Controlling human/livestock disease vectors and nuisance organisms
  • Human lives saved and suffering reduced
  • Animal lives saved and suffering reduced
  • Diseases contained geographically

3. Prevent of control organisms that harm other human activities and structures
  • Drivers view unobstructed
  • Tree/brush/leaf hazards prevented
  • Wooden structures protected

Secondary benefits

1. Community benefits
  • Farm and agribusiness revenues
  • Nutrition and health improved
  • Food safety and security

2. National benefits
  • Workforce productivity increased
  • Increased export revenues
  • National agriculture economy

3. Global benefits
  • Assured safe and diverse food supply
  • Less greenhouse gas
  • Reduced civil unrest

Monetary

For every dollar ($1) that is spent on pesticides for crops yields four dollars ($4) in crops saved. This means based on the amount of money spent per year on pesticides, $10 billion, that there is an additional $40 billion savings in crop that would be lost due to damage by insects and weeds. Generally speaking, farmers benefit from having an increase crop yield and from being able to grow a variety of crops throughout the year. Consumers of agricultural products also benefit from being able to afford the vast quantities of produce available year round. The general public also benefits from the use of pesticides for the control of insect-borne diseases and illnesses, such as malaria. The use of pesticides creates a large job market, which provides jobs for all of the people who work within the industry.

Alternatives

Alternatives to pesticides are available and include methods of cultivation, use of biological pest control
Biological pest control
Biological control of pests in agriculture is a method of controlling pests that relies on predation, parasitism, herbivory, or other natural mechanisms...

s (such as pheromones and microbial pesticides), genetic engineering
Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct human manipulation of an organism's genome using modern DNA technology. It involves the introduction of foreign DNA or synthetic genes into the organism of interest...

, and methods of interfering with insect breeding. Application of composted yard waste has also been used as a way of controlling pests. These methods are becoming increasingly popular and often are safer than traditional chemical pesticides. In addition, EPA is registering reduced-risk conventional pesticides in increasing numbers.

Cultivation practices include polyculture
Polyculture
Polyculture is agriculture using multiple crops in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems, and avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture...

 (growing multiple types of plants), crop rotation
Crop rotation
Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same area in sequential seasons.Crop rotation confers various benefits to the soil. A traditional element of crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen through the use of green manure in sequence with cereals...

, planting crops in areas where the pests that damage them do not live, timing planting according to when pests will be least problematic, and use of trap crop
Trap crop
A trap crop is a plant that attracts agricultural pests, usually insects, away from nearby crops. This form of companion planting can save the main crop from decimation by pests without the potential issues and controversy involved in using pesticides....

s that attract pests away from the real crop. In the U.S., farmers have had success controlling insects by spraying with hot water at a cost that is about the same as pesticide spraying.

Release of other organisms that fight the pest is another example of an alternative to pesticide use. These organisms can include natural predators or parasites of the pests. Biological pesticides based on entomopathogenic fungi, bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

 and virus
Virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

es cause disease in the pest species can also be used.

Interfering with insects' reproduction can be accomplished by sterilizing males
Sterile insect technique
The sterile insect technique is a method of biological control, whereby overwhelming numbers of sterile insects are released. The released insects are normally male as it is the female that causes the damage, usually by laying eggs in the crop, or, in the case of mosquitoes, taking a bloodmeal from...

 of the target species and releasing them, so that they mate
Mating
In biology, mating is the pairing of opposite-sex or hermaphroditic organisms for copulation. In social animals, it also includes the raising of their offspring. Copulation is the union of the sex organs of two sexually reproducing animals for insemination and subsequent internal fertilization...

 with females but do not produce offspring. This technique was first used on the screwworm fly
Cochliomyia hominivorax
Cochliomyia hominivorax, the New World screw-worm fly, or screw-worm for short, is a species of parasitic fly that is well known for the way in which its larvae eat the living tissue of warm-blooded animals. It is present in the New World tropics...

 in 1958 and has since been used with the medfly, the tsetse fly
Tsetse fly
Tsetse , sometimes spelled tzetze and also known as tik-tik flies, are large biting flies that inhabit much of mid-continental Africa between the Sahara and the Kalahari deserts. They live by feeding on the blood of vertebrate animals and are the primary biological vectors of trypanosomes, which...

, and the gypsy moth
Gypsy moth
The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, is a moth in the family Lymantriidae of Eurasian origin. Originally ranging from Europe to Asia, it was introduced to North America in the late 1860s and has been expanding its range ever since...

. However, this can be a costly, time consuming approach that only works on some types of insects.

Another alternative to pesticides is the thermal treatment of soil through steam. Soil steaming
Soil steam sterilization
Soil steam sterilization is a farming technique that sterilizes soil with steam in open fields or greenhouses. Pests of plant cultures such as weeds, bacteria, fungi and viruses are killed through induced hot steam which causes their cell structure to physically degenerate. Biologically, the...

 kills pest and increases soil health.

In India, traditional pest control methods include using Panchakavya
Panchakavya
Panchagavya is a concoction prepared by mixing five products of cow. The three direct constituents are cow dung, urine, and milk; the two derived products are curd and ghee...

, the "mixture of five products." The method has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity due in part to use by the organic farming community.

Push pull strategy

The term "push-pull" was established in 1987 as an approach for integrated pest management
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated pest management is an ecological approach to agricultural pest control that integrates pesticides/herbicides into a management system incorporating a range of practices for economic control of a pest...

 (IPM). This strategy uses a mixture of behavior-modifying stimuli to manipulate the distribution and abundance of insects. "Push" means the insects are repelled or deterred away from whatever resource that is being protected. "Pull" means that certain stimuli (semiochemical stimuli, pheromones, food additives, visual stimuli, genetically altered plants, etc.) are used to attract pests to trap crops where they will be killed There are numerous different components involved in order to implement a Push-Pull Strategy in IPM.

Many case studies testing the effectiveness of the push-pull approach have been done across the world. The most successful push-pull strategy was developed in Africa for subsistence farming. Another successful case study was performed on the control of Helicoverpa in cotton crops in Australia. In Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, push-pull strategies were successfully used in the controlling of Sitona lineatus in bean fields. Plus many more cases where this strategy was more beneficial than simply using pesticides on their crops.

Some advantages of using the push-pull method are less use of chemical or biological materials and better protection against insect habituation to this control method. Some disadvantages of the push-pull strategy is that if there is a lack of appropriate knowledge of behavioral and chemical ecology of the host-pest interactions then this method becomes unreliable. Furthermore, because the push-pull method is not a very popular method of IPM operational and registration costs are higher.

Effectiveness

Some evidence shows that alternatives to pesticides can be equally effective as the use of chemicals. For example, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 has halved its use of pesticides with hardly any reduction in crops. In Indonesia, farmers have reduced pesticide use on rice fields by 65% and experienced a 15% crop increase. A study of Maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 yields in northern Florida found that the application of composted yard waste with high carbon to nitrogen ratio
Carbon to nitrogen ratio
The C/N ratio or carbon-to-nitrogen ratio is a ratio of the mass of carbon to the mass of nitrogen in a substance. It can, amongst other things, be used in analysing sediments and compost...

 to agricultural fields was highly effective at reducing the population of plant-parasitic nematodes and increasing crop yield, with yield increases ranging from 10% to 212%; the observed effects were long-term, often not appearing until the third season of the study.

However, pesticide resistance is increasing. In the 1940s, U.S. farmers lost only 7% of their crops to pests. Since the 1980s, loss has increased to 13%, even though more pesticides are being used. Between 500 and 1,000 insect and weed species have developed pesticide resistance since 1945.

International

In Europe, recent EU legislation has been approved banning the use of highly toxic pesticides including those that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction, those that are endocrine-disrupting, and those that are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) or very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB). Measures were approved to improve the general safety of pesticides across all EU member states.

Though pesticide regulations differ from country to country, pesticides and products on which they were used are traded across international borders. To deal with inconsistencies in regulations among countries, delegates to a conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

 adopted an International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides in 1985 to create voluntary standards of pesticide regulation for different countries. The Code was updated in 1998 and 2002. The FAO claims that the code has raised awareness about pesticide hazards and decreased the number of countries without restrictions on pesticide use.

Three other efforts to improve regulation of international pesticide trade are the United Nations London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade and the United Nations Codex Alimentarius Commission
Codex Alimentarius
The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations relating to foods, food production and food safety. Its name derives from the Codex Alimentarius Austriacus...

 . The former seeks to implement procedures for ensuring that prior informed consent exists between countries buying and selling pesticides, while the latter seeks to create uniform standards for maximum levels of pesticide residues among participating countries. Both initiatives operate on a voluntary basis.

Pesticide safety education and pesticide applicator regulation are designed to protect the public from pesticide misuse
Pesticide misuse
Under United States laws, pesticide misuse is the use of a pesticide in a way that violates laws regulating their use or endangers humans or the environment; many of these regulations are laid out in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act...

, but do not eliminate all misuse. Reducing the use of pesticides and choosing less toxic pesticides may reduce risks placed on society and the environment from pesticide use. Integrated pest management
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated pest management is an ecological approach to agricultural pest control that integrates pesticides/herbicides into a management system incorporating a range of practices for economic control of a pest...

, the use of multiple approaches to control pests, is becoming widespread and has been used with success in countries such as Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, the U.S., Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. IPM attempts to recognize the more widespread impacts of an action on an ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

, so that natural balances are not upset. New pesticides are being developed, including biological and botanical derivatives and alternatives that are thought to reduce health and environmental risks. In addition, applicators are being encouraged to consider alternative controls and adopt methods that reduce the use of chemical pesticides.

Pesticides can be created that are targeted to a specific pest's life cycle, which can be environmentally more friendly. For example, potato cyst nematode
Potato cyst nematode
Potato root nematodes or potato cyst nematodes are 1-mm long roundworms belonging to the genus Globodera, which comprises around 12 species. They live on the roots of plants of the Solanaceae family, such as potatoes and tomatoes. PCN cause growth retardation and, at very high population...

s emerge from their protective cysts in response to a chemical excreted by potatoes; they feed on the potatoes and damage the crop. A similar chemical can be applied to fields early, before the potatoes are planted, causing the nematode
Nematode
The nematodes or roundworms are the most diverse phylum of pseudocoelomates, and one of the most diverse of all animals. Nematode species are very difficult to distinguish; over 28,000 have been described, of which over 16,000 are parasitic. It has been estimated that the total number of nematode...

s to emerge early and starve in the absence of potatoes.

United States

In most countries, pesticides must be approved for sale and use by a government agency. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 (EPA) is responsible for regulating pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act , et seq. is a United States federal law that set up the basic U.S. system of pesticide regulation to protect applicators, consumers, and the environment. It is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency and the appropriate...

 (FIFRA) and the Food Quality Protection Act
Food Quality Protection Act
The Food Quality Protection Act , or H.R.1627, was passed unanimously by Congress in 1996 and was signed into law by former U.S. President Bill Clinton on August 3, 1996...

 (FQPA). Complex and costly studies must be conducted to indicate whether the material is safe to use and effective against the intended pest. The EPA regulates pesticides to ensure that these products do not pose adverse effects to humans or the environment. Pesticides produced before November 1984 continue to be reassessed in order to meet the current scientific and regulatory standards. All registered pesticides are reviewed every 15 years to ensure they meet the proper standards. During the registration process, a label is created. The label contains directions for proper use of the material. Based on acute toxicity, pesticides are assigned to a Toxicity Class
Toxicity Class
Toxicity Class refers to a classification system for pesticides that has been created by a national or international government-related or -sponsored organization...

.

Some pesticides are considered too hazardous for sale to the general public and are designated restricted use pesticides. Only certified applicators, who have passed an exam, may purchase or supervise the application of restricted use pesticides. Records of sales and use are required to be maintained and may be audited by government agencies charged with the enforcement of pesticide regulations.

The EPA regulates pesticides under two under main acts, both of which were amended by the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996. In addition to the EPA, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set standards for the level of pesticide residue that is allowed on or in crops The EPA looks at what the potential human health and environmental effects might be associated with the use of the pesticide.

Additionally, the U.S. EPA uses the National Research Council's four-step process for human health risk assessment: (1) Hazard Identification, (2) Dose-Response Assessment, (3) Exposure Assessment, and (4) Risk Characterization.

History

Since before 2000 BC, humans have utilized pesticides to protect their crops. The first known pesticide was elemental sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

 dusting used in ancient Sumer about 4,500 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. By the 15th century, toxic chemicals such as arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

, mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

 and lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 were being applied to crops to kill pests. In the 17th century, nicotine
Nicotine
Nicotine is an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants that constitutes approximately 0.6–3.0% of the dry weight of tobacco, with biosynthesis taking place in the roots and accumulation occurring in the leaves...

 sulfate
Sulfate
In inorganic chemistry, a sulfate is a salt of sulfuric acid.-Chemical properties:...

 was extracted from tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 leaves for use as an insecticide. The 19th century saw the introduction of two more natural pesticides, pyrethrum
Pyrethrum
Pyrethrum refers to several Old World plants of the genus Chrysanthemum which are cultivated as ornamentals for their showy flower heads. Pyrethrum is also the name of a natural insecticide made from the dried flower heads of C. cinerariifolium and C...

, which is derived from chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemums, often called mums or chrysanths, are of the genus constituting approximately 30 species of perennial flowering plants in the family Asteraceae which is native to Asia and northeastern Europe.-Etymology:...

s, and rotenone
Rotenone
Rotenone is an odorless chemical that is used as a broad-spectrum insecticide, piscicide, and pesticide. It occurs naturally in the roots and stems of several plants such as the jicama vine plant...

, which is derived from the roots of tropical vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

s. Until the 1950s, arsenic-based pesticides were dominant. Paul Müller
Paul Hermann Müller
Paul Hermann Müller also known as Pauly Mueller was a Swiss chemist and Nobel laureate. In 1948 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his 1939 discovery of insecticidal qualities and use of DDT in the control of vector diseases such as malaria and yellow fever.Müller was born...

 discovered that DDT
DDT
DDT is one of the most well-known synthetic insecticides. It is a chemical with a long, unique, and controversial history....

 was a very effective insecticide. Organochlorines such as DDT were dominant, but they were replaced in the U.S. by organophosphates and carbamates by 1975. Since then, pyrethrin compounds have become the dominant insecticide. Herbicides became common in the 1960s, led by "triazine and other nitrogen-based compounds, carboxylic acids such as 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and glyphosate".

The first legislation providing federal authority for regulating pesticides was enacted in 1910; however, decades later during the 1940s manufacturers began to produce large amounts of synthetic pesticides and their use became widespread. Some sources consider the 1940s and 1950s to have been the start of the "pesticide era." Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970 and amendments to the pesticide law in 1972, pesticide use has increased 50-fold since 1950 and 2.3 million tonnes (2.5 million short tons) of industrial pesticides are now used each year. Seventy-five percent of all pesticides in the world are used in developed countries, but use in developing countries is increasing. In 2001 the EPA stopped reporting yearly pesticide use statistics. A study of USA pesticide use trends through 1997 was published in 2003 by the National Science Foundation's Center for Integrated Pest Management.

In the 1960s, it was discovered that DDT was preventing many fish-eating birds from reproducing, which was a serious threat to biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

. Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson
Rachel Louise Carson was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement....

 wrote the best-selling book Silent Spring
Silent Spring
Silent Spring is a book written by Rachel Carson and published by Houghton Mifflin on 27 September 1962. The book is widely credited with helping launch the environmental movement....

about biological magnification. The agricultural use of DDT is now banned under the Stockholm Convention
Stockholm Convention
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is an international environmental treaty, signed in 2001 and effective from May 2004, that aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants .- History :...

 on Persistent Organic Pollutants, but it is still used in some developing nations to prevent malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 and other tropical diseases by spraying on interior walls to kill or repel mosquitoes.

Further reading

Books

Journal articles

News

External links



Pesticide regulatory authorities

Human health
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