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Are Pesticides Harmful to Humans? 

Are Pesticides Harmful to Humans


Pesticides are simply substances that are mainly used in agriculture to protect plants from pests and diseases.  They are used to get rid of pests that can cause harm to crops. Over the years, they have been very helpful in keeping farmlands safe from pests that destroy crops.

Even with the good it does to crops and farmlands, there are also cons that come with using pesticides. They harm the environment and even some living things.

Many pesticides today have been associated with so many health and environmental issues and exposure to some of these pesticides can be detrimental to the health and well-being of a human being. When it contacts the skin, inhaled or ingested, it can cause damaged skin, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive, carcinogenic, and respiratory damage. 

Effects of Pesticides on Humans

Most people are worried about the side effect of pesticides as they contain a ton of chemicals, and surely it would be unhealthy to breathe them in. They can cause short term health effects called acute effects and long term critical effects. Some short term acute effects are rashes, stinging eyes, nausea, dizziness, and so on.

Some examples of chronic effects are birth defects, respiratory issues, cancer, and others. Infants and children are known to be more susceptible to the harmful effect of pesticides, so it would be best to ensure they avoid coming in contact with it. 

Now, to know the kind of harm pesticides really cause, we will need to look at the kind of harm it causes to humans. 

1. Acute effects

Pesticides can have very strong acute effects on the body. This simply means that they can cause very dangerous harm and effects after being exposed to the body by inhalation, skin contact, or even ingestion.

Acute effects happen immediately or even a few days or weeks after contact with the pesticide. When it is not properly diagnosed or spotted, it can lead to death. 

Most of the time, the symptoms of these cases are not fully known as they tend to have the same symptoms as a cold or flu. You may think you have a cold, but in reality, you might be experiencing acute effects of pesticide exposure. This is very tricky as when something cannot be detected quickly enough, it often leads to death. 

Pesticide symptoms are usually mistaken for the signs of common illnesses, it is easier to be misinformed and misdiagnosed which could have very serious consequences in the long run.

Because of the strong immediate reactions and symptoms, you would need to seek a medical checkup immediately, but there is a strong likelihood that the doctor might not think of pesticide exposure. So, in order to avoid this, you need to try all you can to stay away from pesticides as much as possible.

Take all preventive measures to stay away from it very seriously if you don’t have to have any of the illnesses mentioned above. 

The symptoms usually come a few days after exposure to the pesticide. Children and people with preexisting health conditions may have more severe reactions. They can be:

  • Sore throat and cough
  • Weakness
  • Eyes and skin reactions
  • Vomiting 
  • Headache and so much more.

2. Chronic Effects

These are more long term effects on the body which the pesticide has caused over a long period of time. This usually happens with the long and continuous use of pesticides at low levels. Chronic effects happen to those that have used pesticides for a long period of time.

Low levels do not cause an immediate effect like the acute effect, but over time it builds up to cause a very serious illness. Some long term effects include cancer, tumors, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, depression, infertility, damage to the liver and other organs, ADHD and so much more.

The symptoms of this effect may not appear for a long time and it might be difficult to link it to the constant use of pesticides. To avoid having chronic effects when working with pesticides, take all precautionary procedures very seriously and make sure you wash and take care of your kit after you’re down with it. If you can, you can use pesticides that do not have very harmful chemicals to work or turn to organic pesticides which are a great option. 

How Humans Can Avoid Coming in Contact With Pesticides 

Consider non-chemical methods for controlling pests

You can avoid using harmful chemicals to control pests like introducing wild plants and animals to get rid of the pest for you, mulching, hand weeding, setting traps, etc.

Carrying out organic pest control methods would be the best bet if you’re worried about getting sick from the continuous use of pesticides.

If you have to use chemical pesticides, then go for the ones that have fewer harmful chemicals in them. You can also use a vacuum cleaner during any infestation to get rid of some of the insects lurking around in your farmland.  

Store pesticides properly 

Make sure you keep pesticides properly after using them and ensure they don’t end up tipping over or spilling. Clean all your equipment after use and take a bath to rid yourself of any pesticide residue. Also, store your gear in a safe and dry place. 

Cover up properly when using pesticides

You can get cover-up gear when you want to use pesticides so you don’t end up touching or coming in contact with it. This is very important as the less you get in contact with pesticides, the less the risk of you getting any harmful illness. This is very important if you want to avoid getting in contact with any type of harmful chemicals that is in pesticides. 


Knowing that pesticides can cause numerous illnesses and also knowing how to avoid said illnesses is very essential. Make sure you put everything above into practice to avoid any of the effects and see a professional as soon as you suspect that you might have come in contact with any harmful chemicals. 

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