Pesticides: The False Heroes in Agriculture

Pesticides are the False Heroes in Agriculture


Pesticides: The False Heroes in Agriculture

Farmers have utilized chemicals to protect crops from harmful bacteria and pests in agricultural for centuries. Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides… oh my! There is a wide variety of chemicals used on crops that are thought to gallantly protect our health. Everyday consumers are continuously force-fed an illustration that pesticides can heroically stampede in, armed to go to battle against any insects and viruses that get in the way to improve our health. This notion created by the commercial farming industry aims for consumers to feel safe and protected, however, there is a large amount of research saying that these chemicals do more harm than good. Additionally, the environment is suffering the tolls of pesticides being absorbed into the runoff soil and water, leaching regulated and unregulated chemicals into the atmosphere. Here's the rundown of everything you need to know about agricultures’ false heroes of chemical protectants.

About one billion pounds of pesticides are sprayed annually onto the crops of food that we eat. The definition of pesticides encompasses all chemicals used to destroy pests or other organisms that can harm plants and animals.These organisms come in many forms: fungi that attack plants, vicious bacteria that sneak into plants’ tissues, pests, fungus gnats that feast on flesh and other bacteria, or multiplying weeds that steal nutrients from crops. There are several types of pesticides, but two of the most common and widely used in the United States are herbicides and insecticides. Herbicides are used to kill undesirable plants or weeds. Herbicides are very powerful and are capable of destroying all the plants the chemical touches, while others are designed to target one species. Insecticides, on the other hand, are the chemicals that are used to specifically target and kill insects that feed on crops. Despite the evidence-based on the detrimental effects of pesticides, there are benefits of chemicals used in agriculture. The use of pesticides can increase food production, which leads to an increase in profits for farmers. Pesticides also prevent rare diseases and illnesses associated with deadly bacterial growth and pest infestation. However, the growing health and environmental issues outweigh the evident benefits of chemical protectants used in agriculture.

Different studies have concluded that the accumulation of pesticides that we consume over time can lead to multiple forms of cancer, and can provoke endocrine disruption, which can cause birth defects in children. Pesticides used in agriculture not only affect our health but also wildlife, beneficial insects like bees, water quality, and air quality as well. Keeping our environment free of chemicals is almost as important as keeping our bodies clear of chemicals. The numerous studies published on the dangers of pesticides seem to be overlooked by the regulation system, and are still used on agriculture today. This amplifies the fact that the regulatory systems in place needs to be enormously reconstructed. Each county adopts their own agricultural policies and limitations in the number of chemicals that can be used on crops. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for monitoring and regulating pesticides. In Europe, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is responsible for monitoring and regulating pesticides. The US and the EU’s approaches to regulations and policies for pesticide use are dramatically different. The contradicting regulation policies fog consumer's reliance on the systems that were put in place to protect us.

Chemical protectants used in farming today is a huge problem with towering risks for the environment and our bodies. Fortunately, there are steps can take to avoid exposure to these chemicals. Buying organic foods in your local grocery and farmer's markets is a great and practical option. If organic foods are not available to you, washing your produce is effective in eliminating pesticide residues. Most importantly, creating a relationship with your local farmers and food distributors allows there to be an opportunity to ask questions about the way their crops are cultivated. The intention of revealing these chemical protectant heroes in our food is to publicize the lack of transparency in agriculture that we are faced with today. Using the Testsharing App gives you access to our database of tested foods on pesticide residues, allowing you to make the decision of what you want in your body.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4