We, as a people have long been talking about the toxicity of insecticides and the effect of agrochemicals on environment. We have all heard of Punjab’s infamous ‘Cancer train’ which gained its name after the fact that 60% of its passengers are those stricken with the worst cancer. This cancer rears its ugly head out of their exposure to the harmful and excessive use of pesticides in their field. Their fields are definitely greener as a result of the agrochemicals they use. It is however, these same products which are eating their reapers from the inside out. If that is what mere exposure of the harmful substance in the field leads to, we can hardly imagine the toxic effects of pesticides on the end users of agricultural produce, we are buyers who are consuming this three times a day? It is high time we stop and ask the following questions: What are the side-effects harmful effects of fertilizers and pesticides on environment? What is the effect of pesticides on human life?

Is what we eat for nourishment actually nourishing or salubrious? If not this, what is a healthier alternative? To answer each question in order, the toxic effects of pesticides do not dissipate even over a long period of time. Part of these residues are absorbed in the soil. Along with increasing salinity and toxicity of the soil, they can also enter our water resources through runoff. Another side effect is that over time, pests develop resistance to medicines. This means, you have to increase dosage or go for pesticides with a higher concentration. Harmful effects of pesticides on crops include more residue which is absorbed by plants and ultimately end up in the food we eat. As a result, you are now consuming alarming amounts of pesticides through both water and food. On human life, the impact of pesticides depends on the intensity and type of exposure. Based on this, pesticides may either cause internal harm or external injury. When pesticides enter the human body, they interfere with our bodily systems and cause long-term, irreparable damage to our internal organs. Pesticide exposure causes range of problems from upper respiratory ailments to reproductive abnormalities. These effects may be acute or chronic in nature. Acute effects include difficulty breathing, runny nose, irritation of the eyes, cough, rashes or in extreme cases, diarrhoea or death. Chronic ailments may be tumours, respiratory illnesses and asthma or bodily cancer. On the other hand, systemic effects of pesticides occur when body parts come directly in contact with insecticides. This manifests in the form of itching, irritation and redness. Long duration contact can also lead to skin and radiation cancers. If we highlight the effect of pesticides on children, a study of ‘Pesticide Exposure and Child Neurodevelopment’, recent research suggests that ‘Even low levels of pesticide exposure can affect young children’s neurological and behavioural development. Evidence shows a link between pesticides and neonatal reflexes, psychomotor and mental development and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. ’Talking about the occurrence of pesticide-induced cancer, ‘The United Nations Population Division estimates that, by the year 2050, there will be 9.7 billion (cancer stricken) people on Earth – around 30% more people than in 2017. Nearly all of this population growth will occur in developing countries.’ Another report by ‘The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that, in developing countries, 80% of the necessary increases in food production keep pace with population growth are projected to come from increases in yields and the number of times per year crops can be grown on the same land. Only 20% of new food production is expected to come from expansion of farming land. ’Now coming to the most importance question, what healthier alternatives are out there? The solution is two-pronged; either go organic or go the bio way. Organic farming, is home based and the cheapest alternative. However, the major drawback is that the effect is only over a longer period and through continued usage. If we are expecting faster results, we need to look at the option of bio pesticides. Bio pesticides use botanical extracts and are made from specific marker molecules which directly attack harmful pests and are residue-free and safe for use at the same time. To learn more about our range of insecticides, pesticides, growth promoters and sticker/spreaders, head to our website.