There are downsides to pesticides

Pesticides

Why pesticides are dangerous for humans and nature

Pesticides are by definition Made "to kill" and can therefore also have harmful effects on other organisms, the environment and human health. Pesticide active ingredients can carcinogenic, harmful to reproduction or mutagenic be, they can act as neurotoxins or Skin, eye and respiratory irritation cause. Spray can damage birds, fish, bees, earthworms and soil organisms. They can accumulate in the environment and thereby damage our waters and soils. Pesticides threaten biodiversity. In Austria, more than 50% of all mammal, bird and fish species can be found in the Red Lists under the categories “potentially endangered” through to “threatened with extinction”. In reptiles it is over 90% and in amphibians even 10 0%! Numerous studies show that the use of pesticides has negative effects on biodiversity. “Spraying” not only damages the pests to be controlled, but also unintentionally beneficial insects and other non-target organisms.

Effect of pesticides

Pesticides are used in conventional agriculture. Although the agricultural area in Austria is declining, the amount of pesticides used is increasing. These synthetic chemical sprays are used against "pests". However, pests often only become a problem through intensive, environmentally harmful cultivation. The effects of pesticides go further than one would think. They have no place in our food and fields, because they are a risk to people and the environment:

  • Pesticide residues on our food pose a threat to our health.
  • For farmers, the use of pesticides increases the risk of developing cancer or metabolic disorders and becoming sterile.
  • Pesticides can also be hazardous to health for consumers. Children are particularly sensitive - even small amounts can cause strong reactions such as developmental disorders in them.
  • Pesticides penetrate water, soil and air. There they not only kill pests, but also threaten all other living things such as bees, butterflies, fish and birds.
  • When applying pesticides, drift can occur because pesticide mist knows no property line.
  • Pesticides seep from the field into groundwater and open water and accumulate in the food chain.
  • Pesticides can also be detected far away from civilization. Studies show that even polar bears are contaminated with pesticide residues and their reproductive ability is impaired as a result.

Depending on the area of ​​application or effect, a distinction is made between different groups of pesticides:

  • Herbicides against weeds
  • Insecticides against insects
  • Fungicides kill molds and microorganisms
  • Acaricides against mites
  • Rodenticides against rodents
  • Molluscicides against snails
  • Avicides against birds (are prohibited in Austria)

Alternative: organic farming

Organic farming tries to help environmentally friendly measures Ensure crop protection in a natural way. No synthetic chemical pesticides may be used; instead, natural active ingredients and plant-strengthening measures are used. Crop rotation and organic fertilization maintain and promote the fertility of the soil, which helps strengthen the plants. Among other things, pests are kept in check with their natural enemies, so-called beneficial insects.