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  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: October 2011

6 - Harmful Effects of Pesticides


Many technological innovations hazardous to human health have faced public condemnation in the past. Chemical weaponry, atomic warheads, ballistic missile technology and many other such technologies have been vociferously condemned throughout the world. Wherever potentially harmful chemicals are used for human welfare (like chemical industries and pharmaceutical industries), stringent legal and administrative measures are forced upon industries, with precautions for their use being widely publicized in the interest of human welfare. But, the large-scale use of agrochemicals is neither condemned nor are any stringent laws/rules followed. As compared to Asia, public awareness about the hazardous effects of pesticides is more in western countries. Based on the harmful effects of many agro-chemicals, their extensive usage has been banned in many western countries.

To date, the laws with regard to the usage of agro-chemicals and their enforcement are still in primitive stages in developing countries including India, compared to similar laws relating to other chemicals. In the case of developing countries, the situation is grim and explosive as the concerned scientists, doctors, policy makers and administrators are not yet fully prepared to grasp the seriousness of the situation. Obviously, pesticides are not perceived to be major pollutants by a large section of the population. There is no strict enforcement of the existing laws, and there are many deficiencies in the present laws themselves. Public awareness is very low and it is hardly possible to expect the common farmer to be aware of the potential harmful effects of the agro-chemicals on human health.

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