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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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insectides
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
  • Control insect-borne disease
indoor application
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
classifications
Classifications
  • 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
agricultural application
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
environmental considerations
Environmental Considerations
  • Water pollution by various routes
  • Pesticide drift
  • VOC (volatile organic compounds)
  • Soil contaminants
  • Non-target organisms
  • Pest resistance
environmental considerations7
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
organophosphorus insecticides
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

Functions-

  • 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
adverse health effects
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
other effects
Other Effects
  • Psychiatric effects
  • Cancer
  • Eye defects
  • Birth defects
  • Cardiac effects
  • Neurological
poisoning
Poisoning
  • Signs and symptoms: headache, nausea, muscle twitching, diarrhea, hypersecretion
  • Treatment: Clear airways to improve tissue oxygenation, administer atropine sulfate intravenously, decontaminate skin
alternatives and considerations
Alternatives and Considerations
  • Methods of cultivation
  • Other organisms to kill pests
  • Genetic engineering
  • Insect breeding interference
insecticide summary
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