Effects on Humans

The most important aspect of pesticides is how they affect humans. There is increasing anxiety about the importance of small residues of pesticides, often suspected of being carcinogens or disrupting endocrine activities, in drinking water and food. In spite of stringent regulations by international and national regulatory agencies, reports of pesticide residues in human foods, both imported and home-produced, are numerous.

Over the last fifty years many human illnesses and deaths have occurred as a result of exposure to pesticides, with up to 20,000 deaths reported annually. Some of these are suicides, but most involve some form of accidental exposure to pesticides, particularly among farmers and spray operators in developing countries, who are careless in handling pesticides or wear insufficient protective clothing and equipment. Moreover, there have been major accidents involving pesticides that have led to the death or illness of many thousands. One instance occurred in Bhopal, India, where more than 5,000 deaths resulted from exposure to accidental emissions of methyl isocyanate from a pesticide factory.

carcinogen any substances that can cause or aggravate cancer endocrine the system of glands, hormones, and receptors that help control animal function

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