Term Paper: Chemistry of Pesticides, Including Characteristics

Pages: 7 (2317 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Agriculture  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] The site notes, "Today, DDT is classified as a probable human carcinogen by U.S. And international authorities. This classification is based on animal studies in which some animals developed liver tumors" (7). However, DDT is still used in some parts of the world to help combat mosquitoes that carry malaria.

Both the United States and Canada now monitor and govern pesticide usage, because there are so many environmental and human health concerns about the over usage of pesticides. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency took over the job of regulation when it was formed in 1970. They register and license all pesticides used in the United States, and they participate, though the United Nations, in pesticide practices around the world. They were one of the nations that helped create a worldwide ban on DDT except in areas where there is a high instance of malaria. They also register and inspect businesses that produce pesticides, and they govern what pesticides can be imported into the country. In addition, they periodically review older pesticides to make sure they are still effective and are still safe for use.

In addition, the EPA works with the states to implement field programs. These programs ensure everything from worker safety in the agricultural and production areas, to education programs for people who use pesticides. They also have created endangered species and water quality programs to monitor the effect of pesticide residue in the environment. They are also working with companies to develop "biopesticides" that are created out of natural materials, and may be the wave of pesticide production in the future.

Canada is extremely aggressive in monitoring and governing pesticides. Some provinces have legislated to ban all lawn and garden pesticides on public and private property and the courts have upheld these bans. Another author notes, "The Court also cited the 'precautionary principle' -- the idea that policymakers should act to protect human health and the environment even in the face of scientific uncertainty -- as a legitimate basis for local action on pesticides" (8). By 2005, over 70 other Canadian cities had enacted similar bans on pesticides.

In Canada, the "Pest Management Regulatory Agency" under the Health Canada agency, is the regulator and register of pesticides. The federal agency has to register a product before a province can use the product, and a province has the right to ban a pesticide even if the government has approved it. The agency works closely with the agricultural, oceans and fisheries, and environmental agencies in the country, as well. It is also quite difficult to get a pesticide banned once it is approved for use in Canada. In both countries, the majority of pesticides used are used in agricultural settings. Like the United States, Canada has a rigorous testing program, they offer educational programs for using pesticides, and they routinely monitor pesticides that have been on the market for a while, to make sure they are still safe and effective. They are concerned mostly about health and environmental pesticide concerns.

In conclusion, pesticides present a number of problems to humans and the environment, and they are known to cause many health concerns. Pesticides are a necessary part of most modern agriculture, but they have to be applied effectively to work well, and there can be health issues with workers who apply them, workers who produce them, and with the people that eat the products that may contain them. They can spread into the environment in a variety of ways, from leaching into the soil and then into groundwater, to volatilization and even being carried into homes on clothing and shoes. Even small amounts of pesticides can cause health concerns, especially in children, and in the past, they have been linked to cancer, issues with babies who consume mother's milk tainted with pesticides, and much more. Pesticides can build up in certain organs over time, as well, and they can build up in the environment, creating dangers for people who hunt, fish, or consume products from most supermarkets. They have become an increasing concern in most areas of the world, and some, like DDT, have been banned because they are so dangerous. In the future, there may be a way to create more naturally-based pesticides from organic ingredients that are not so harmful to people and the environment. If governments like Canada continue to place increasing bans on pesticides, then companies will be forced to come up with better ways to control pests without harming the environment, and the world will be a safer place as a result.


1. Pimental, D., Encyclopedia of Pest Management. CRC Press, Boca Raton, 2007.

2. Oregon State University, http://oregonstate.edu/~muirp/pesthist.htm, 28 Jan. 2007.

3. University of Missouri-Columbia, http://extension.missouri.edu/explorepdf/agguides/pests/g07520.pdf, July 1997.

4. Saller, Jeremy, et al. Journal of Environmental Health 69.7, 2007, 27+.

5. Wilensky, J., Human Ecology 29.4 2001, 2+.


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