Usage of Pecticides in Agriculture: Is It Dangerous?
Health has always been one of the substantial concerns of humanity. What we eat and what we drink just happens to be one of the primary sources and factors which determine our well-being. To stay healthy and avoid falling to countless diseases constantly lurking around we always have to choose the food we consume carefully. Therefore, the usage of pesticides in food and water is a serious matter that concerns many people in the society. Over the years, it has caused continuous dispute regarding its advantages and disadvantages.
Pesticides have been around since the nineteenth century. Nowadays, in agriculture and food production pesticides are commonly used to control pests such as insects, rodents, weeds, bacteria, mold, and fungus. Ideally, pesticides are supposed to harm the pests which might reside in food, without causing harm to the human. Unfortunately, as many studies show, the situation is highly controversial. On the one hand, many studies claim that the usage of pesticides in more beneficial to humans than it is harmful, and that opposed to the danger that is created by pests it is the lesser of evils. At the same time, many people argue that the risk of pesticides in our food is difficult to overlook, as it may not only harm the pests but the people who consume the products as well.
According to M. J. Levine, many studies have shown that the danger of pesticide exposure is real. He states that all people, especially young children, pregnant women, farmers, and farm workers, as well as the elderly, are susceptible to adverse health effects caused by exposure to pesticides (Levine). Acute poisoning, cancer, congenital disabilities and damage to the brain are among the most alarming effects which may be caused by pesticides. That said, it is interesting to note that, according to Levine, insects can quickly develop resistance to pesticides. As for the sources of pesticide exposure, pesticide traces can be found almost everywhere: in the office and home, in food and water, as well as in the air (Levine). Taking into account these two facts, the benefit of pesticides for humans can be questioned.
On the other hand, the beneficial nature of pesticides can also be attested by diverse reasoning. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is necessary to use pesticides to control pests, as the danger they present is far greater than the possible risks from pesticide exposure. They argue that pests, if not taken care of properly, are the common sources of various deadly and debilitating diseases. As an example, indoor household pests such as cockroaches can be the cause of asthma and allergies. Another point made by EPA is that “the presence of a detectable pesticide residue does not mean the residue is at an unsafe level” (“Pesticides | US EPA”). They also claim that “the amount of a substance a person is exposed to is as important as how toxic the pesticide might be” (“Pesticides | US EPA”).
That brings us to the question of how pesticides should be used in agriculture and food production. Despite the fact that the increased use of pesticides is the reason for increased crop production, lower maintenance costs, and control of public health hazards, it is also proved to have a serious impact on the health of people working in agriculture (Levine). In this sphere, the direct risk of pesticide exposure is faced mainly by farmers and farm workers. Farm workers are exposed to pesticides when cultivating and harvesting the crops in fields, nurseries, and greenhouses, as well as transporting agricultural commodities (Levine). Moreover, children living in farming areas, states Levine, are likely to have the highest exposure to pesticides of any group of people in the country. That being said, according to recent studies, there is generally low level of awareness as to the dangers of pesticide exposure and prevention (Rao et al.). This fact proves that the use of pesticides in the agricultural setting is the matter which should be considered with much seriousness.
Taking into account everything that has been said, I think that the matter of pesticide use is one that requires more public attention. It is a fact that people working in agriculture, as well as people living in farming areas, are more exposed to pesticides than those who live in cities. Therefore, I firmly believe that there should be some steps to be taken to minimize the danger of pesticide exposure to the people. First and foremost, farmers and farm workers should be properly informed about the pesticide use in agriculture and the different existing pros and cons. Raising awareness of the issue will make certain risks avoidable. While the controversy of the usage of pesticides in the agricultural sector remains unsolved, the government and the media should make sure that the society is well-informed about both benefits and risks of pesticides. That way, a single-valued decision on the matter of pesticide usage is likely to be devised sooner.
Levine, Marvin J. “Pesticides: A Toxic Time Bomb in Our Midst.” Praeger, 2007.
Liu, Yongbo et al. “Protecting the Environment and Public Health from Pesticides.” Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 46, no. 11, 2012, pp. 5658-5659. American Chemical Society (ACS), doi:10.1021/es301652v.
“Pesticides | US EPA.” US EPA, 2017, www.epa.gov/pesticides.
Rao, Pamela et al. “Pesticides in the Homes of Farmworkers.” Health Education & Behavior, vol. 34, no. 2, 2006, pp. 335-353. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1177/1090198106288045.
This should make the situation with writing your agricultural essay easier. Here you have to write a simple essay using the general structure and general rules of essay writing.
First of all, in your introductory paragraph write your thesis statement. For example, say why agriculture is an important branch of national economy.
In your body paragraphs look at the problem from several perspectives. The first paragraph could be about the general problem of most developing countries – lack of agricultural products, starvation etc.
The second one can be about the reasons why agriculture is not a priority to the respective governments and why such policies lead towards starvation in many countries of the world.
The third one can suggest methods on how to solve the problem of the lack of agricultural development.
In your conclusions summarize your essay.