The use of pesticides by the UK population is on the rise with the latest reports showing an increase in among the farmers. While the use of pesticides has enabled considerable ease in pest management and ensured better yields, pesticides have adverse effects on humans, wildlife, and the environment.
To help curb the runaway effects, the Environment Agency has put in place rules and regulations on transportation and disposal of pesticide wastes.
How are people exposed to pesticides?
While pesticides are used on farms and gardens to improve crop production, the continued use seems to introduce a health risk to humans. Pesticides have artificial compounds that can remain in the environment for a long time. Some pesticides like organochlorine can stay on the surface 30 years after use, yet they had been banned. The remains in the environment expose humans and other living organisms to their effects. That explains why more people use pesticides, the higher the cases of effects.
There have been reports of the presence of pesticide residues in foods like grains, vegetables, fish, and milk. This means that foods are the other way humans get exposed to pesticides.
Pesticides can also present in water bodies. Most pesticides have polarity and solubility with water such that once they are applied in the fields; they can mix with runoff water and enter into the water bodies. The nearby agricultural activities determine the amounts of these chemicals in the aquatic systems.
Another way humans get exposed to pesticides is due to accidental release into the environment due to waste dumps, leaking pipes, spills, groundwater, and underground storage tanks. These accidents tend to release large amounts of pesticides in the environment that remain present for a long time.
An occupation where people are directly exposed to pesticides is dangerous to the workers.
At the moment, it is not a debate of if pesticides have health effects on humans anymore; instead, it is all about the extent. The results of the pesticides on humans and the environment have been recorded since 1962 in the environmental book Silent Spring. The acute decline of wildlife, wild bees, birds, and other aquatic life has been contributed to the continued prevalence of pesticides on the environment.
Pesticides also kill wildlife and birds by killing them indirectly. The presence of chemicals in the environment kills other insects that birds feed on — the same way the herbicides for controlling weeds kill other plants species used for food and shelter. In the end, the use of pesticides affects the whole ecosystem.
Apart from the animals, the effects of pesticides have been manifested in humans as well. There are two ways in which humans experience health effects;
This is a point where the harmful effects of pesticide exposure manifest within a short time. Generally around 48 hours.
Some of the conditions one can experience include; allergic sensitization, loss of consciousness, respiratory tract irritation, sore throat and cough, eye and skin irritation, and extreme weakness and seizures, and in some extreme conditions death.
More than 3 million cases of acute poisoning from pesticide exposure are reported annually, causing around 250 – 370,000 deaths every year.
Long term toxicity is when it takes an extended period before the effects of the exposure to pesticides are realized. This is mostly due to the low level or gradual exposure.
Some of the conditions linked with chronic toxicity include hyperactivity disorder, attention deficit, and cancer, like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, and other types of solid tumor.
How to protect against the hazards
After confirming that improper disposal of pesticides can be hazardous to health, it is essential to raise a question. How do you protect from the probable health hazard?
Handling and disposing of pesticide wastes through the right channels. Simple, right?
Well, from how often the people in the UK keep getting exposed to the pesticide toxins, you might be forced to rethink if it is as simple. The truth is most people don’t have information on how to properly dispose of pesticide wastes. Most do not understand that they are hazardous chemicals that need special handling, unlike the regular wastes. Even pest elimination in London is well managed by professionals who avoid the usage of hazardous pesticides for pest control.
The best way to handle pesticide wastes by commercial and industrial scales users is to hire authorized waste disposal experts to help remove and clear the waste. For small scale users, they can easily access the several authorized hazard waste sites to either recycle or dispose of wastes.
Using an expert in disposing of is time-saving, cost-effective and reduces the probable health hazards caused by improper disposal of pesticides.
Improper disposing of pesticides has seen a rising case of health defects. While there is no way the use of pesticides can be eliminated from everyday life, those who handle them must be ready to follow the regulations and laws put in place for handling and disposition. This is the only way to keep humans, animals, and the environment from hazardous health effects.