Environment - Dangers of Pesticides, Food Additives



Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest. Pesticides are a special kind of products for crop protection. Crop protection products in general protect plants from damaging influences such as weeds, diseases or insects. A pesticide is generally a chemical or biological agent (such as a virus, bacterium, antimicrobial or disinfectant) that through its effect deters, incapacitates, kills or otherwise discourages pests. Target pests can include insects, plant pathogens, weeds, molluscs, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes (roundworms), and microbes that destroy property, cause nuisance, spread disease or are vectors for disease. Although there are human benefits to the use of pesticides, some also have drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to humans and other animals. According to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 9 of the 12 most dangerous and persistent organic chemicals are pesticides. Pesticides are categorized into four main substituent chemicals: herbicides fungicides insecticides and bactericides. Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance. Some additives have been used for centuries for example, preserving food by pickling (with vinegar), salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as in some wines.