2.1 Examples of Acute Effects of Pesticides
Damage to nerves.
Many pesticides act on insects by damagingthe nervous system of the insect. In the sameway, these pesticides may be harmful tohuman nerves. The Organophosphate pesticides are the most important group. Theywill cause a person to have the followingsymptoms:
Headache, dizziness and weakness.
Excessive salivation, sweating, tearing of the eyes, watering of the mouth.
Disturbance of vision.
Nausea and vomiting.Pesticides that act on the nerves can alsoaffect the nervous tissue in the brain, causinga person to become confused anddisorientated, and sometimes present as if they have a psychiatric disorder. More severeeffects can cause fits or collapse, and mayaffect the nerves controlling breathing,causing the person to stop breathing. Mostcases of fatal poisonings are caused by theseorganophosphate pesticides. Examples of these pesticides (names) are Dursban,Gusathion, Azodrin, Lebaycid, and Rogor.Many other pesticides can also cause nervoussystem damage. These include theOrganochlorine pesticides (such as DDT,dieldrin, etc).
Pentachlorophenol is a herbicide and wood preservative. It is used in agriculture but alsosold for domestic use. (You can buy it at ahardware store). If a person is heavilyexposed, it leads to poisoning of the cells of the body causing the body to burn up itssupply of carbohydrate. A person poisoned bythis chemical will start to sweat a great deal,the body temperature will rise and the personcan become seriously ill and die.
Damage to the lungs.
Different pesticides can cause damage to thelungs. Methyl Bromide is a fumigant gas thatwill cause immediate damage to the lining of the lungs, causing the lungs to fill up withfluid and the person will collapse withrespiratory failure. Paraquat causes anirreversible thickening of the lungs, makingthe lungs stiff and unable to absorb oxygenfor the body's needs. Many cases of paraquat poisoning are fatal.
2.2 Examples of Chronic Effects of Pesticides
There are some pesticides which are wellrecognised as causing cancer. For example,early pesticides containing arsenic are knownto cause cancer but most of these are nolonger in widespread use. However, there aresome pesticides currently in use for whichthere is evidence suggesting that exposure isassociated with a small increase in the risk of cancer. These include pentachlorophenol,amitrole, and dioxin (a contaminant of someherbicides).Then there is a lot of epidemiologicalevidence (research from studies of large