30 Harmful Effects Of Using Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides

Agricultural is one of the oldest sector human’s know, with many of many development in this area it is safe to say that one of the greatest discovery of all are chemical fertilizer and pesticides. This product surely brings benefits in agricultural development. It brings wide range benefits from improving productivity, yield reduction, vector disease control, and quality of food. These benefits are deniable as well as the harm it brings.

As the usage of chemical might harm human body, and this product is directly has relation with human’s food then it is a reasonable move if we worried about it. Moreover knowing there are list of banned agricultural chemical that people still use, we might want to know what are the harmful effect of using chemical fertilizer and pesticides.

Harmful Effects of Using Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides

This article will show you what are the harmful effect of using chemical fertilizer and pesticides and gather it to this list below :

1. Environmental Effects

As basically the function of pesticide is to kill pest by poisoning them the side effect of it might not far from it. It is reported that the usage of chemical fertilizer (read more : iron used in plant for growth and fertilizer) and pesticide contaminated and poison the soil, water, turf, and other vegetation. In addition to kill the pest, it is also kill another unwanted animal to kill such as birds, fish and other animal who has direct contact to it.

2. Human health

In recent study conducted in 2001, shows that the chemical pesticides has things to do with cardiovascular- and endocrine-related effects. This study started in 1976 where during the production of 2,4,5 T,a herbicide there is indication it is resulted a dioxin. This compound could damage on  liver function, immune function, neurologic impairment, and reproductive. (read more : chemical elements of human body)

3. Surface water contamination

When farmers or pesticide user use the product by spraying it to the treated plants, the pesticide could reach surface water from treated plants and soil. Several cases have been reported due to this cause, according to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) they observation resulted that more than 90 percent of water and fish samples from all streams contained one, or more often, several pesticides.

4. Ground water contamination

As well as surface water contamination, pesticide also contaminated the ground water with the chemical that should not be in it (read more : chemicals in water). This is a very bad situation where the source of life that is water is toxicated by the pesticides.

Once the water has been contaminated, it needs a complex and expensive source to clean it up. This catastrophic situation is found in India where according to USGS 58% of drinking water were contaminated with Organo Chlorine pesticides above the EPA standards.

5. Soil fertility effect

An excessive treatment of pesticide and chemical fertilizer could decrease the amount of micro organism. This decline will incur big losses as the soil were no longer hold any nutrients as stated by soil scientist Dr. Elaine Ingham, “If we lose both bacteria and fungi, then the soil degrades.

Overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides have effects on the soil organisms that are similar to human overuse of antibiotics. Indiscriminate use of chemicals might work for a few years, but after awhile, there aren’t enough beneficial soil organisms to hold onto the nutrients”.

List of Harmful Chemicals in Pesticide and Fertilizer

As now we know the effects of using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, we might question what are the chemical components that made the pesticides not allowed to be consumed, what are their harm to our bodies, so this is the list of chemical used in pesticide and fertilizer :

  1. Metam sodium, let us cut to point of the effect of this compound. This compound used in pesticide is causing birth defects and is toxic to birds and fish.
  2. DDT, DDE, DDD, these chemical is listed in carcinogen list (read more about carcinogen : chemicals known to cause cancer and reproductive toxicity ) means it appears that these chemicals could potentially cause cancer. Another things about these chemicals are it also effected human’s body such as Developmental (effects during periods when organs are developing) , Endocrine (Glands and Hormones), Hepatic (Liver), Neurological (Nervous System), Reproductive (Producing Children).
  3. Pyrethroids, this inorganic chemical that included in organophosphates could cause many decease including hyper-excitation, aggressiveness, uncoordinated, whole-body tremors, and seizures. An excessive exposure to human skin of this chemical could cause allergic reaction and acute irritation.
  4. Carbamate, this chemical is a derivative of carbamic acid (NH2COOH). Excessive exposure of this chemical to human could cause disturbance in melatonin receptors resulting condition called Ginger Jake paralysis where human muscle ability is decreasing significantly making human can not move their body parts.
  5. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), as one of dioxin chemicals, it is known that digesting this chemical could potentially cause cancer. This chemical has formula of  C12H10−xClx and has another effect to human body such as rashes which is symptom of liver damage.
  6. Methoxychlor, another synthetic compound that will disturb the gland and hormones system as well as reproductive and neurological system. Due to its harm this chemical were no longer allowed to use as pesticide component since 2003 in United State America and Europe since 2002. 
  7. Endosulfan, with chemical formula of C9H6Cl6O3S this chemical noted as one of the most toxic pesticide. This chemical will disturb the function of estrogen in human’s body as well as weaken the immune system.
  8. Toxaphene, this chemical is one of the most used chemical in United State for cotton pesticide in late 1970. Despite its benefits, it also bring great harm to humans. Inhalation of this chemical odor could cause severe effect such as damaging the lungs, nervous system, and kidneys, and may cause death.
  9. 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (2,4-D), this chemical with formula of C8H6Cl2O3 could cause a big problem. Men who work closely with this chemical such as farmers could possibly at risk for abnormally shaped sperm which cause fertility problems.
  10. Kepone, this chemical is used in pesticide to control fire ants before it is banned by Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants in 2009. According to NTP this chemical is included in Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

More Harmful Chemicals in Fertilizer

So, those are list of chemicals that resulting harmful effects of using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, there are other chemicals and some of them are below :

  • Aldrin/Dieldrin
  • Atrazine
  • Chlordane
  • Chlordecone
  • Endosulfan
  • Endrin (Endrin aldehyde)
  • Heptachlor/Heptachlor Epoxide
  • Hexachlorobenzene
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Pentachlorophenol
  • Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids
  • 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin

Meanwhile, there may be some harmful effects of using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Thus, let’s be wise when using inorganic fertilizer in our daily habit.