The Effect of Pesticides on the Environment

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Humans have been battling against pesticides for over 8,000 years (Lee 11). Finally, after many years, Paul Muller invented “the wonder pesticide”, which saved thousands of people during World War II by killing typhus-carrying lice and malaria-carrying mosquitoes (DDT 1). However, don’t be fooled be the hero story of Paul Muller, pesticides can be beneficial; however they also have negative effects.

One of the disadvantages of pesticides is that they travel all throughout the food chain. Despite the fact that insects will retain a diminutive amount of the chemicals from pesticides, animals such as birds will consume multiple insects containing the harmful chemicals. Accumulating to the very top of the food chain, hawks, whom eat smaller birds, will also consume much of the chemicals. Pesticides that are persistent are stored in fat within tissues of the whole body in certain organs. Eventually, bioaccumulation will occur and the chemicals will accumulate until the organism is contaminated (Lee 49).

Pesticides were designed to protect crops. Conversely, it may actually cause buildup within the soil. Eventually, the soil hardens and looses its moisture. The soil will make its way to other plants, which will cause them to exterminate as well. Additionally, the pesticides can cause soil erosion which causes the loss of valuable top soil (Billings 40). This is not the end of the effects of pesticides on the environment, nevertheless. Some pesticides can pollute water, and as chemicals travel through the soil, the ultimately come in contact with groundwater. What does this mean for humans? Well, groundwater is approximately 50% or drinking water for all Americans (Lee 50). Nearly 14.1 million Americans habitually consume this infected water. Policies were proposed in the 1970s by the passage of the National Environmental Protection Act and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (Miller 12), unfortunately however, some farmers refuse to stop using...
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