Insecticides agricultural use and human health implications
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Effects indoor pesticides have on humans and the environment - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Insecticides: Agricultural Use and Human Health Implications By: Tristan J. Van Voorhis Insectides Def: pesticides that are used to kill insects Uses: In the agriculture industry, they are used in combination with fungicides and herbicides Prevent insects from eating crops

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Presentation Transcript

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Def: pesticides that are used to kill insects


  • In the agriculture industry, they are used in combination with fungicides and herbicides

  • Prevent insects from eating crops

  • Control insect-borne disease

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Indoor Application

  • Common insecticides: flea powder and cockroach spray

  • Can be tracked indoors (on shoes, gloves, pets, airborne dust)

  • Indoor insecticides have longer half life than in the outdoor environment due to less water, UV and biological exposure and breakdown

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  • Organic: synthetic chemicals that account for large number of pesticides

  • Inorganic: manufactured with metals

  • Arsenates, sulfur, fluoride, and copper-compounds

  • Contact: toxic to insects by direct contact

  • Aerosols

  • Natural: composed of plants to defend against insects

  • Pyrethrum and nicotine

  • Systemic: incorporated with treated plants

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Agricultural Application

Spray application – most common method

  • Applied manually by mounted tractor sprayers or hand held equipment

  • Aerial application as well

  • Targets insects that dwell on vegetation and soil

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Environmental Considerations

  • Water pollution by various routes

  • Pesticide drift

  • VOC (volatile organic compounds)

  • Soil contaminants

  • Non-target organisms

  • Pest resistance

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Environmental Considerations

  • Prior to the use of a pesticide in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency studies the ecological effects of a pesticide and its degradation products to various terrestrial and aquatic animals and plants.

  • The EPA also studies the chemical fate and transport of a pesticide in soil, air, and water resources

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Organophosphorus Insecticides

  • Class of chemicals composed of an organic radical bound to a phosphorus containing radical that kill insects.

  • Classified as non-persistent because upon hydrolysis with air, soil, or sunlight, these compounds are rapidly degraded

  • Widely used for agricultural, residential, and community health purposes

  • Examples: chlorpyrifos, diazinon, dichlorvos, fenthion, malathion, methyl-parathion


  • Irreversibly inactivate acetylcholinesterase

  • Disrupt insect nervous impulses which results in death or impairment of normal function

  • Replaced organochlorine insecticides that were known to be persistent in the environment

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Adverse Health Effects

  • Acute toxicity for mammals

  • Pose as addictive toxic effects that are amplified by multiple exposures

  • Metabolize quickly and excreted in urine

  • Potential chronic health risks

  • Respiratory depression, seizures, loss of consciousness

  • Absorbed by inhalation, skin penetration, and ingestion

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Other Effects

  • Psychiatric effects

  • Cancer

  • Eye defects

  • Birth defects

  • Cardiac effects

  • Neurological

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  • Signs and symptoms: headache, nausea, muscle twitching, diarrhea, hypersecretion

  • Treatment: Clear airways to improve tissue oxygenation, administer atropine sulfate intravenously, decontaminate skin

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Alternatives and Considerations

  • Methods of cultivation

  • Other organisms to kill pests

  • Genetic engineering

  • Insect breeding interference

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Insecticide Summary

  • Research safer ways to handle and apply insecticides

  • Minimize human exposure by introducing new or improved personal protective equipment

  • Investigate how home design and household cleaning practices affect indoor pesticide levels

  • Implement simple preventative measures like removing shoes at the door or installing walk off mats

  • Wash and peel food crops