Pesticides are toxic organic compounds that include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides whose presence in the aquatic environment can be particularly dangerous.
The widespread use and disposal of pesticides by farmers, large plantations and the general public causes environmental contamination. It is estimated that the 68% of such contamination is a result of agricultural uses. Following release into the environment, pesticides may give rise to different consequences. Pesticides which are sprayed can become airborne and may eventually end up in soil or water. Pesticides applied directly to the soil may be washed off the soil into water or may percolate through the soil to lower soil layers and groundwater.
Pesticides also affect the food we eat. An analysis made by the Environmental Working Group of more than 110,000 government-tested food samples and detailed government data on children’s food consumption found that multiple pesticides known or suspected to cause brain and nervous system damage, cancer, or hormone interference are common in foods many children consume. It is estimated that more than a quarter of a million U.S. children aged 1–5 ingest a combination of 20 different pesticides every day, more than 1 million preschoolers eat at least 15 pesticides on a given day, and, overall, 20 million children aged 5 and under eat an average of 8 pesticides every day.
Pesticides are a public health concern and have been linked to a range of diseases and disorders. Many chemical pesticides are known to cause poisoning, infertility and birth defects, they can damage the nervous system and potentially cause cancer.
For More Information
For More Information Contact:
Eco-Justice Program Office
National Council of Churches
110 Maryland Ave., NE
Washington, DC 20002