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The Effects Of Large Scale Use Of Pesticides.

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The Effects Of Large Scale Use Of Pesticides Firstly, we need to establish the core concept of a pesticide. A pesticide is a group of different chemicals that are specific to kill different types of animal or plant. The three most common types of pesticide are insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. In this essay I will be explaining the advantages and disadvantages of large-scale usage of pesticides, and the different ways in which they affect us. The main reason we use pesticides are to stop inter-specific competition, either between weeds and crops or between insects and crops. Many Farmers use pesticides to encourage healthy crop growth, prevent weed growth and prevent damage by pests and disease. This boosts commercial value of the crop but may mean the crops are not as healthy to consumers because traces of the chemicals are left in the plants. The use of chemicals to protect crops is not a new idea. Three thousand years ago sulphur was used by the Greeks to kill pests, and the Chinese used arsenic in AD 900. (Food, Farming and the Environment, Damian Allen and Gareth Williams, 1997) There are obvious advantages to using pesticides. The most vital of these is the effect on global food production. Estimates of the pest problem on a worldwide scale suggest that, without insect pest, world food production could be increased by about a third. ...read more.


Note that the concentration is highest in the final predator (ppm = parts per million) (6) The effect may be quite dramatic, as with DDT, which is now found in virtually all animal tissue, in every food chain, and even the Antarctic snow (Food, Farming and the Environment, Damian Allen and Gareth Williams, 1997). However thanks to its use, millions of people survived who would other wise have died of malaria or starvation (Biology: Principles and Processes, Michael Roberts, 1993). Although this case is an extreme circumstance, laws have now been put in to place to stop these dangerous chemicals from coming on the market again, although there is still a question about the amount of pesticides used on crops. A person may consume 1.5g of natural toxins per day in foods such as coffee, potatoes, tomatoes, whole wheat and brown rice. This is about 10000 times the average amount of pesticide residue consumed. (Charles, New Scientist) Another problem, that that may arise is if a particular pesticide is used a lot the pest may eventually become resistant to it. The pesticide no longer kills the pest and so a new one has to be developed at all times which results in more resources and cash flow being ploughed into developing and testing. An alternative method to chemical pesticide use is using biological pesticides or Bio-pesticides. ...read more.


(4) Overall when using pest controls there are a number of factors to consider, to get maximum effect and sustain pest control. The important factors to consider are how efficient each method is at controlling the pest, the cost, damage that might be caused to the environment, and possible health hazards. In a survey of the 200 commercial grain storage premises contacted in 1995, 114 stored grain and 104 were visited to obtain data on pesticide usage. Ninety three percent of those visited were found to use pesticides. (7). In addition in the developed world we have become increasingly concerned about the long-term effects that chemical pesticides and herbicides may have on us as we eat our well-sprayed food. Even with the latest technology farmers will still resort to using pesticides, agreeing with the predicted US demand for pesticides in 2006 will reach $10.6 billion (8) We have also become progressively greener over recent years; with more and more people expressing concern over the future of the earth and our effect on it, hence the reason for many people turning to organic based products. The Organic Trade Association states that nearly 10% of cropland in Europe is dedicated to organics. (9) Substituting biological control for chemical intervention therefore seems like a very good idea. However the use of pesticides is integral to the framing industry and is important to our world as it revolves around price and quality of such indispensable goods such as crop. ...read more.

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