Pesticide exposures for residents living close to agricultural lands

India is the land of farmers. They are the backbone of the Indian Economy and its prosperity depends upon agriculture and its subsidiaries. Farmers work in extreme weather conditions as they don’t enjoy holidays or “cheat days”. Living in a small and cramped hut is far from being a luxury. The problems for farmers in India, where half of the population relies on agriculture, are unending.

Work in scorching heat for months with possibilities the crop might get destroyed due to natural or unnatural reasons is the life’s bitter truth for them. They painstakingly work for months and spend money on seeds, pesticides, machinery, labor, water & electricity and after extensive spending, they end up with meager money. Thus, most of the time, farmers return without any money and subsequently end up in debts.

Farmers, while cultivating crops, use various farming practices, but every farmer needs pesticides. Farmers use pesticides to control various pests and disease carriers, such as mosquitoes, ticks, rats, and mice. But are these pesticides killing our farmers?

These pesticides do not discriminate between men or bugs. It’s a traumatizing fact, but farmers regularly consume pesticides & commit suicide. This has been happening for a long time. But studies show pesticide even in a permissible amount affects the health of farmers and their families as well.

Studies show that people living near agricultural pesticides end up having adverse health conditions. There are birth-related problems like Preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, etc., respiratory problems like asthma, Parkinson’s disease, childhood and adult cancer, muscle weakness, physical dysfunction, autism, lower IQ & lack of verbal communication.

Infants’ Environmental Health Study states that women who work in agricultural lands and people who live within one hundred meters proximity of farmlands have a lower mineral concentration in blood.

Chlorpyrifos, a pesticide considered hazardous to humans, is frequently detected in local fruit and vegetable samples. This pesticide is banned in countries like the USA. Children who ate these local fruits or vegetables had 2.8 times higher levels of metabolites in urine.

Methamidophos, a pesticide considered by WHO as “Class 1b, Highly Hazardous”, is found on playground equipment and household dust. This pesticide was also found in dumplings in China & Japan, which led to the death of several consumers.

These pesticides are likely to remain an essential part of current agriculture. However, there is a need of the hour to create awareness about pesticides and their health impacts as well as promoting environmental-friendly practices which not only work in favor of nature but to our farmers and his or her loved one.

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