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Pesticide Impact – A Silent Menace

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Pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides and bactericides, are chemical or biological agents that are used in many agricultural and industrial sectors to control pests, weeds and diseases. According to the Pesticide Action Network UK, “There is a growing body of evidence that pesticides can become more harmful when combined, even when each individual chemical appears at levels at or below its ‘no-observed- effect-concentration.’”

By 2017, the global agricultural use of pesticides had grown to 4.1 million metric tons per year, a nearly 81% increase from 1990. According to research, pesticides are responsible for over three million poisoning cases annually and an estimated 220,000 deaths. Due to their persistent nature and bioaccumulation properties, pesticides are harder to degrade in the environment. OCPs have strong lipophilicity. Therefore, when the toxic OCPs are ingested, they might partition into fat tissues and be stored inside. This is not only limited to humans, but also it affects other living beings in the same way. Eventually, the detrimental effect of biomagnification is at its greatest when it ends up in the stomachs of meat-eaters. If the amount of OCPs released into the blood circulation increases, there might be a higher risk of dementia. As a result, the amount of OCPs that end up in the brain might be less in those making a healthy lifestyle change.

What can we do in communities to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of pesticides? One way is by implementing sustainable-oriented agroecology and vegan organic farming practices. The available methods, to name a few, include crop rotation and usage of cover crops, which encourage good soil health. It would be great to turn your garden or balcony into a mini-farm, or participate in a community farming project. One study showed that simply rinsing produce under cold water was already enough to reduce pesticide residues for 75%, or 9, of the 12 pesticides tested. 2. Vinegar is another way to get pesticides off vegetables and fruits. Lastly, going vegan is the simplest and most efficient way to help minimize our exposure to pesticides.

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