An insecticide is a chemical used in insect control, agriculture, and medicine. Relatively few deaths have occurred among workers handling poisonous agricultural products or insecticides.[Citation Needed] Those that have occurred can be traced to disregard of safety directions found on product labels.[Citation Needed] There are many types of insecticides on the market today.
Early symptoms and signs of organic phosphate poisoning include headache, dizziness, blurred vision, weakness, chest discomfort and nervousness, a little later - nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, sweating, tears, salivation, slow pulse, muscular tremors and possibly convulsions. This group of insecticides enters the body through ingestion (swallowing), inhalation (breathing), and absorption (through the skin). Symptoms and signs of carbamate poisoning include constriction of pupils, salivation, profuse sweating, fatigue, muscular incoordination, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and chest tightness. This group of insecticides can enter the body through ingestion (swallowing), inhalation (breathing), and absorption (through the skin). One of the most common signs of synthetic pyrethroid poisoning is a stuffy, runny nose and scratchy throat from inhalation of partly purified pyrethrum extract. Asthmatic wheezing may occur in susceptible individuals. Sudden bronchospasm, swelling of oral and laryngeal mucous membranes, and shock (anaphylaxis) have been reported after pyrethrum inhalation. Delayed appearance of breathing difficulty, cough and fever, with patchy lung infiltrates on x-ray suggest hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Nervous irritability, tremors, and inability to coordinate muscular movements have occurred rarely in persons who have had massive inhalation exposure to pyrethrins.
Insecticides in AgricultureEdit
Insecticides have been used since the inception of the Green Revolution in agriculture. Years of research and testing have resulted in a number of safe agricultural practices. Farmers should remember to destroy their crop remains following last harvest as well as to control weed hosts in unused fields, along field edges, and in the production fields. It is a good practice to rotate vegetable crops with cover crops or other crops that are not susceptible to the same pests. Fallowing and clean cultivation reduces many pests in fields not being used. Flooding with water where mosquitoes are not an issue may be done for 6 to 8 weeks once a year and can reduce many pests. These measures might be considered where sod or crop growth is not needed to reduce plant bed erosion and sand blasting.
DDT is a proven anti-mosquito agent, able to eradicate malaria. It was heavily used in America and elsewhere throughout the world. It's overuse was criticized by Rachel Carson in her book Silent Spring which led to environmentalists calling for an outright ban. As a result, millions of people (some estimate over 300 million) have died as a result of US environmental prohibitions on DDT. Former head of the World Bank, prominent neo-conservative Paul Wolfowitz, has embraced the life-saving use of DDT.
- National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) Information about pesticide-related topics.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticides Program
- NIH encyclopedia with emergency treatment of Insecticide exposure