Pesticide Exposure and Human Health Effects

Kim KH, Kabir E, Jahan SA. Exposure to pesticides and the associated human health effects. The Science of the total environment. 2016 Sep 7. pii: S0048-9697(16)31926-X. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.009.

Pesticides are used widely to control weeds and insect infestation in agricultural fields and various pests and disease carriers (e.g., mosquitoes, ticks, rats, and mice) in houses, offices, malls, and streets. As the modes of action for pesticides are not species-specific, concerns have been raised about environmental risks associated with their exposure through various routes (e.g., residues in food and drinking water). Although such hazards range from short-term (e.g., skin and eye irritation, headaches, dizziness, and nausea) to chronic impacts (e.g., cancer, asthma, and diabetes), their risks are difficult to elucidate due to the involvement of various factors (e.g., period and level of exposure, type of pesticide (regarding toxicity and persistence), and the environmental characteristics of the affected areas). There are no groups in the human population that are completely unexposed to pesticides while most diseases are multi-causal to add considerable complexity to public health assessments. Hence, development of eco-friendly pesticide alternatives (e.g., EcoSMART) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques is desirable to reduce the impacts of pesticides. This paper was hence organized to present a comprehensive review on pesticides with respect to their types, environmental distribution, routes of exposure, and health impacts.

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