Pesticides were made with the intentions of helping farmers to kill insects and weeds so that they can produce more food. Pesticides were made with good intentions but they ended up doing more harm than good. Pesticides hurt our ecosystems by killing or harming important animals such as bees, birds, and fish. They create superweeds which damage farmers crops and farm equipment. And pesticides have detrimental effects on people’s health by causing cancer, birth defects, and other harsh diseases. We need to quit using pesticides because they hurt our ecosystems, create superweeds, and harm people. Pesticides hurt our ecosystems by killing important animals like bees, birds, and fish. These animals are especially important because they play a very important role in the food cycle. The pesticides that damage our ecosystem the most are called persistent organic pollutants because they don’t biodegrade. “persistent organic pollutants (POPs). They’re called persistent because they do not biodegrade, nor are they easily removed from the environment.” Whenever these pesticides enter water sources through runoff, many fish and other aquatic animals accumulate these toxic chemicals. This continues to happen until the animal either dies or it’s eaten. Whenever the animal is eaten, the chemicals that it withholds is passed onto the consumer, this is called bioaccumulation and is one way how humans are impacted by pesticides. Basically, we eat something that has been contaminated by the chemicals used in pesticides. The chemicals never exited the organism that we ate and now it’s inside our bodies. And this leads to negative impacts on our health.Another type of pesticide that does a great disservice to the ecosystem is called systemic pesticides. These systemic pesticides are especially dangerous to pollinators. “They penetrate to the inside of a plant traveling along its absorption path. These poisons work by poisoning the pollen and nectar of flowers, and this can kill needed pollinators like butterflies and bees.” Bees are essential for our environment because they pollinate a large majority of our crops as well as many wild plants, they are what help our crops to be successful.“Cross-pollination helps at least 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of our wild plants to thrive.2 Without bees to spread seeds, many plants—including food crops—would die off.” Neonicotinoids are also very commonly used pesticides that harm pollinators such as bees and butterflies by reducing male fertility and by impairing the bees navigation path back to its hive. “Previous research in honeybees and bumblebees, for example, has found that neonicotinoids impair navigation, cause problems for queens, and reduce male fertility.” Many people argue that to rid of these pesticides would be ridiculous because of how much our economy depends on them, but if we keep killing bees at the rate we are right now than we are estimated to lose $15-30 billion dollars every year. “Pesticides are a major threat to bees…And it’s estimated that this loss will negatively impact the agricultural economy to the tune of $15-30 billion every year.” Birds are also heavily impacted by pesticides. Pesticides have a huge impact on birds and their diet. A specific pesticide that caused many birds populations to decline was called DDT. DDT was a pesticide used to kill mosquitos, but with that came serious consequences for birds. “DDT and its relatives alter the bird’s calcium metabolism in a way that results in thin eggshells. Instead of eggs, heavily DDT-infested Brown Pelicans and Bald Eagles tend to find omelets in their nests, since the eggshells are unable to support the weight of the incubating bird.” Pesticides are dangerous for the environment in general and should not be used, many birds die due to these pesticides which really hurts their species survival chances along with the ecosystem they live in. “They are, nonetheless, highly toxic. Parathion applied to winter wheat, for instance, killed some 1,600 waterfowl, mostly Canada Geese, in the Texas panhandle in 1981.” Pesticides hurt our ecosystems by killing and harming important animals such as bees, birds, and fish. Not only do pesticides do this, but they also create superweeds. Superweeds are weeds that have become resistant to certain herbicides. One main pesticide that killed weeds very efficiently was called roundup. But because Roundup was overused, weeds developed a resistance to it and were able to grow very tall which can damage farm equipment and take away nutrients from the crops. “Today, more than 61.2 million acres of U.S. farmland are infested with weeds resistant to Roundup.” Whenever farmers discover the pesticide-resistant weeds, they try to solve the problem by using more herbicides which puts the environment at an even greater risk. “As weeds became resistant, growers have applied still more herbicides to try to control them. A recent study found that over the 16 years from 1996 to 2011, the use of GE crops increased herbicide use by 527 million pounds, putting consumers and the environment increasingly at risk.” And superweeds aren’t just resistant to Roundup, superweeds can be resistant to multiple herbicides which creates an even greater problem for farmers because they are no longer guaranteed a successful crop yield. This is a huge problem because superweeds are now commonly found in major crop industries such as soybeans, cotton, and corn. “Weeds resistant to glyphosate—the world’s most popular herbicide—are now present in the vast majority of soybean, cotton, and corn farms in some U.S. states. Perhaps even worse, weeds that can shrug off multiple other herbicides are on the rise.” Many of the world’s big pesticide corporations such as Monsanto are trying to create the next “Roundup” to combat these superweed problems. But whenever the herbicides get stronger the superweeds also do because they learn to adapt to the pesticides. So instead of creating even more dangerous and toxic pesticides that are destroying our environment, we need to discover a new sustainable way that can ensure a healthy and successful crop yield. “Creating next-generation herbicide-tolerant crops amounts to repeating the same mistake as was made with Roundup Ready® crops in the first place… only this time around the herbicides that will be sprayed with abandon may be more harmful than the developers of Roundup® claimed glyphosate was.” Pesticides harm our environment, create superweeds, and have negative impacts on our health. In case the superweeds and amount of harm done to our environment haven’t changed your mind, pesticides also have many detrimental impacts on your health. Whenever pesticides enter your body through touch or inhalation it can cause respiratory damage. “Herbicides cause respiratory damage whenever inhaled; throat burns, nose bleeds, can burn holes in your esophagus, etc.” The pesticides get stored in your colon where they stay and slowly poison you. Whenever these chemicals build up inside you, they can lead to very harsh diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and birth defects. “pesticides have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, ADHD, and even birth defects. Pesticides also have the potential to harm the nervous system, the reproductive system, and the endocrine system.” Since pesticides can also harm your reproductive system, they have a tremendous impact on women during and after their pregnancy. This is because the chemicals within the mother can be passed on to her child. “Pesticides can even be very harmful to fetuses because the chemicals can pass from the mother during pregnancy or if a woman nurses her child.” As smart as humans are, the idea of putting some of the most deadly chemicals known to man on our food doesn’t sound like a very good idea, does it? Well, we do it, and in fact, we use seven of the most dangerous chemical compounds known to man, in pesticides that we spray on the food we consume. “Seven of the most toxic chemical compounds known to man are approved for use as pesticides in the production of food!” As crazy as that sounds we are still doing it and not slowing down at all. One chemical called paraquat is used in a herbicide and can be deadly even if its swallowed in a very small amount. But yet we think that it’s ok to spray these chemicals on the food we eat. “Paraquat is used in plant killer and when swallowed even in small amounts, often leads to death.” Other pesticides such as Agent Orange are linked to cancer and can cause birth defects. “Agent Orange in the womb are more than three times as likely to suffer from mental retardation, cleft palate and other birth defects, such as the presence of extra fingers or toes.” Pesticides can also contaminate groundwater by leaching into wells. Whenever this happens the water can’t be used which really hurts families that rely on groundwater for drinking. “Pesticides can also affect groundwater by a process known as leeching. Many people depend on groundwater for their drinking supply, yet, if that water has pesticides in it, it is unsanitary and harmful for the people to drink.” The usage of pesticides is dangerous, but the production of them is extremely dangerous as well. The workers are breathing in harsh chemicals all day which can lead to some serious health problems and often death. A specific manufacturing plant in India accidentally released a very poisonous gas that killed many people and injured many more. “One disaster at a pesticide manufacturing plant was in Bhopal, India. The plant accidentally released over 40 tons of an intermediate chemical gas, methyl isocyanate, used to produce some pesticides. As a direct result of the spill, nearly 4,000 people were killed immediately, overall approximately 15,000-20,000 people died in the ensuing years because of toxic chemical exposure. Today more than half a million people suffer from mild to severe permanent damage as a result of the disaster.” This event shows just how deadly these chemicals are and why we need to stop using them. This is one reason how over one million people per year are dying due to pesticide accidents and poisoning. “The world-wide deaths and chronic diseases due to pesticide poisoning number about 1 million per year (Environews Forum, 1999).” So to conclude, we need to quit using pesticides because they hurt our ecosystem, create superweeds, and harm people. They hurt our ecosystems by killing important animals such as bees, birds, and fish. They create superweeds which damage farmers crops and equipment. And they have detrimental effects on our health by causing harsh diseases such as cancer and birth defects.
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