Article

Pesticides

Mark Robson

in Public Health

ISBN: 9780199756797
Published online February 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0061
Pesticides

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines a pesticide as any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, or controlling any pest, including vectors of human or animal disease; unwanted species of plants or animals causing harm during or otherwise interfering with the production, processing, storage, transport, or marketing of food, agricultural commodities, wood and wood products or animal feedstuffs; or substances which may be administered to animals for the control of insects, arachnids, or other pests in or on their bodies. A pesticide may be a chemical, biological, antimicrobial, or disinfectant agent, or a mechanical device used against a pest. Pests include insects, pathogens, weeds, mollusks, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes, and microbes that destroy food or fiber or transmit disease. Pesticides are often described as economic poisons, as they are compounds that are specifically designed, manufactured, distributed, and applied to control (kill) a pest. Pesticides have been used in agriculture since the first century bce. Pesticides are often classified according to their chemistry. Pesticides can be classified as inorganic, synthetic, or biological; biological pesticides include microbial and biochemical compounds. Pesticides can also be classified by chemical type. For example, the major insecticide chemical types include organochlorines, organophosphates, and carbamates. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates annual pesticide used worldwide exceeded 5 billion pounds in the years 2000 and 2001. Herbicides accounted for the largest portion of total use, followed by other pesticide use, insecticide use, and fungicide use. Included in this article are scientific journals that provide current research on the topic of pesticides, textbooks that are key primary resource materials, online resources, a section on policy and regulation, some examples of the many pesticide databases that are available, a section on illness related to pesticide exposures, environmental effects of pesticides, pesticides as they relate to food and diet, animal models and testing of pesticide materials, and risk assessment methods.

Article.  4753 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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