Pesticides and Herbicides By: Luan Papraniku
WHAT THE PROBLEM IS
The use of toxic pesticides to manage pest problems has become a common practice around the world. Pesticides are used almost everywhere -- not only in agricultural fields, but also in homes, parks, schools, buildings, forests, and roads. Pesticides have been linked to a wide range of human health hazards, ranging from short-term impacts such as headaches and nausea to chronic impacts like cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption.
Pesticides are the only toxic substances released intentionally into our environment to kill living things. This includes substances that kill weeds (herbicides), insects (insecticides), fungus (fungicides), rodents (rodenticides), and others.
Pesticides can cause many types of cancer in humans. Some of the most prevalent forms include leukemia, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, brain, bone, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular and liver cancers. In Illinois the Monarch butterfly is being affected by these very pesticides which are diminishing the population.
How it affects our community
Pesticide use can damage agricultural land by harming beneficial insect species, soil microorganisms, and worms which naturally limit pest populations and maintain soil health;
Weakening plant root systems and immune systems;
Reducing concentrations of essential plant nutrients in the soil such nitrogen and phosphorous.
What is being done to help solve the problem In our state
The Illinois Pesticide Act has evolved over the years to become the comprehensive statute that it is today. In earlier times, five separate Illinois statutes provided for the regulation of various aspects of pesticides and their use in the state.
New pesticides and application methods are continually being synthesized or discovered which may be valuable for pest control. However, such pesticides may cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment or may be injurious to animals or man if not properly used. It is, therefore, deemed necessary to provide for the regulation of pesticides."
Alternative MEthods To REduce Problem
We need to make our food, our air, our water, and our soil free from toxic chemicals. The real solution to our pest and weed problems lies in non-toxic and cultural methods of agriculture, not in pulling the pesticide trigger. Organically grown foods and sustainable methods of pest control are key to our families’ health and the health of the environment. Better testing. State and federal agencies should require stricter independent testing, including testing of synergistic effects of pesticides. Pesticides known or suspected of causing human health problems should be phased out. Protect our children. Because our children are the most vulnerable population to pesticides, pesticide use should be prohibited in places where our children live and play, including schools, parks, and playgrounds. Require strict non-toxic pest management programs for such places. Pesticide Use Reduction. Provide technical assistance to farmers, local governments, businesses, and homeowners on non-toxic alternatives to pesticide use. This includes alternatives to nuisance spraying for mosquitoes and controlling West Nile virus and other pest problems. Prohibit pollution of our water and poisoning of our communities. Ensure that aerial pesticide use does not pollute our waterways through strict rules governing spraying and buffer zones that prevent the harmful effects of drift. Prohibit the use of pesticides for purely aesthetic reasons. Prevent pesticide applications to water bodies, instead using non-chemical methods of managing aquatic invasive weeds. Right to know. Provide free and universal notification to residents about pesticide use, including who is using chemicals, where, when, how, what pesticides are being used, and why. Protect workers. Provide protection to workers and farmers to prevent acute and chronic pesticide poisoning.
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