The Impact of Pesticides on Humans


Impact of Pesticides on Humans

The impact of pesticides on human is always dangerous though all the pesticides are meant to control pests; they must be biologically active or harmful. Pesticides are poisonous, and also harmful to humans, livestock, other species, and the environment as well.

Therefore, people who use or frequently touch pesticides must consider the relative issues, possible health effects, and also preventive measures to minimize exposure to the products they use.

What will be the Outcome If You are Exposed to Pesticides?

The risk of using pesticides is the potential for harm or the degree of risk involved in using a pesticide under a number of circumstances. Problems depend on pesticide severity and also pesticide exposure level. But there are countless health issues due to the exposure of pesticides.

Acute Toxicity and Acute Effects of Pesticides


Acute Toxicity

A pesticide’s severe toxicity refers to the harm it causes to a human or animal from a single exposure. But it is normally short-lived. The harmful effects of the exposure by any entry route are considered “acute effects.”

The exposure routes are dermal (skin), inhalation (lungs), oral (mouth), and also eyes. Acute toxicity is measured by studying dermal toxicity, inhalation toxicity, and oral toxicity. Also, eye and skin irritation is taken into consideration.

Chronic Toxicity and Chronic Effects of Pesticides


Chronic Toxicity

A pesticide’s chronic toxicity is calculated by subjecting test animals to long-term active ingredient exposure. Any negative effects that result from small doses repeated over time are considered “chronic effects”.

Possible chronic effects due to certain chemicals include birth defects, fetal toxicity, and tumor growth, genetic modifications, blood disorders, nerve disorders, endocrine damage, and reproductive effects also. However, a pesticide’s chronic toxicity is difficult to decide through laboratory study.

Pesticide Signal Words

Products are identified by their relative acute toxicity (their LD50 or LC50 values). Pesticides that are graded as highly toxic (Toxicity Category I) on the basis of either oral, dermal or inhalation toxicity.

So, they must have the warning words DANGER and POISON written in red with a skull or crossbones symbol displayed on the product label front side. The word DANGER must also appear on highly harmful chemicals’ labels. By following the above, one can decide on the impact of the pesticides.

The Symptoms due to the Impact of the Pesticide

The symptoms can vary from mild skin irritation to coma or death. Various categories or families of chemicals cause different symptoms. Individuals often vary in their exposure to specific chemical levels.

Many people may not respond to conditions that may cause serious illness in others. Due to possible safety risks, pesticide users and operators must identify specific signs and symptoms of pesticide poisoning.

What Is The Best Definition Of A Pest?

The Signs of Pesticides Exposure


Signs of Pesticides exposure

The effects, or signs, may be generally described as either topical or systemic. Topical symptoms usually happen at the pesticide contact site, arising from either the irritant properties of the pesticide (either the active and/or inactive ingredient) or the victim’s allergic reaction towards it.  A skin disease is the most widely seen topical effect connected with pesticide exposure. The signs of the disease vary from skin redness to rashes/blisters.

Topical and Systemic Effects of Pesticides

Systemic effects differ from topical effects. They sometimes occur from the initial contact point; as a result, the pesticide is consumed and spread across the body. Systemic symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, tiredness, headache, digestive disorders also. When severe impact of the pesticides happen, individuals can experience,

  • Changes in heart rate
  • Trouble breathing
  • Seizures
  • Coma

These issues could lead to death.

Pesticide Exposure and Medical Attention

Alert yourself for the impact of the pesticides also the early signs and symptoms of pesticide poisoning. These often happen right away after exposure, but may be delayed up to 24 hours. If you have symptoms but are unaware of pesticide-related symptoms, at least alert anyone if the symptoms get worse. But when symptoms become visible after contact with pesticides, you must consult a doctor immediately.

If you’re going to the hospital or clinic, take the whole pesticide bottle, including the sticker. To stop inhaling the smoke , make sure the container is completely sealed and, if necessary, covered in a plastic bag. Don’t ever put the pesticide container in your vehicle.

The Impact of Some Pesticide groups are:




Severe exposure of fungicides to humans is usually considered low, but fungicides can irritate your skin and eyes. Inhaling the mist or dust from these pesticides might cause irritation of the throat, sneezing, and coughing also. Chronic exposures to lower fungicide levels can cause negative health effects.




Herbicides usually have lower acute toxicity to humans because plant physiology is so different from humans. Exceptions are there, however; others can be dermal irritants because they are mostly heavy acids, amines, esters, and phenols. The mist can cause coughing and burning in nasal passages and chest. Frequently excessive inhalation develops dizziness. Consumption of pesticide normally cause vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea.




Insecticides cause the largest number of pesticide poisonings. The most serious pesticide poisoning generally results from acute organophosphate and carbamate insecticides exposure. Chlorpyrifos, diazinon, dimethoate,  and ethyl parathione are organophosphate insecticides.

They include carbaryl, carbofuran, methomyl, and oxamyl. Organophosphates and carbamates stop the enzyme cholinesterase, causing nervous system disruption. These chemicals will destroy all life forms with cholinesterase in their nervous system, including insects, fish, birds, humans, and other mammals.

The Impact of the Pesticides and the Signs and Symptoms of Acute Exposure for Several Pesticide Active Ingredients are:

S.noActive IngredientBrand NameSigns and Symptoms
1AzoxystrobinAbound, QuadrisIrritating to skin, eyes, and respiratory tract
2PentachloronitrobenzenePCNB, TerraclorAllergic reactions
3ZiramCuman, VancideProlonged inhalation causes neural and visual disturbances
4DicambaBanvel, MetambaneIrritating to skin, respiratory tract. Loss of appetite anorexia), vomiting, muscle weakness, slow heart rate, shortness of breath, and Central nervous system effects.
5AtrazineAatrex, AtranexAbdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting. Eye irritation, irritation of mucous membranes, and skin reactions
62,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid2,4-D, BarrageIrritating to skin, mucous membranes, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, confusion, Bizarre or aggressive behavior and muscle weakness in occupationally exposed individuals
7ParaquatGramoxoneBurning in the mouth, throat, chest, upper abdomen. Diarrhea. Giddiness, headache, fever, lethargy. Dry, cracked hands, and Ulceration of skin.
8PendimethalinProwl, StompIrritating to skin, eyes, and respiratory tract
9Acephate (organophosphate)OrtheneHeadache, excessive salivation and tearing, muscle twitching, nausea, diarrhea, Respiratory depression, Seizures, loss of consciousness and Pinpoint pupils.
10Aldicarb (N-methyl carbamate)TemikMalaise, muscle weakness, dizziness, Sweating, Headache, salivation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea. Nervous system depression, and Pulmonary edema in serious cases.
11Chlorpyrifos (organophosphate)DursbanHeadache, excessive salivation and tearing, muscle twitching, nausea, diarrhea, Respiratory depression, seizures, Loss of consciousness and Pinpoint pupils
12Endosulfan (organochlorine)ThiodanItching, burning, and tingling of the skin. Headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, lack of coordination, Tremor, mental confusion. Seizures, Respiratory depression, and coma
13Malathion (organophosphate)CythionHeadache, excessive salivation and tearing, muscle twitching, nausea, and diarrhea. Respiratory depression, seizures, Loss of consciousness and Pinpoint pupils.
14Methyl Parathion (organophosphate)Penncap-MHeadache, excessive salivation and tearing, muscle twitching, nausea, diarrhea. Respiratory depression, seizures, Loss of consciousness and Pinpoint pupils.
15Phosmet (organophosphate)ImidanHeadache, excessive salivation and tearing, muscle twitching, nausea, diarrhea. Respiratory depression, seizures, Loss of consciousness and Pinpoint pupils.

Preventive Measures to Avoid the Impact of Pesticides

As suggested earlier, the danger or risk of using pesticides and the impact of the pesticides depend on both the product’s toxicity and the amount of product exposure. If possible, use a low-toxicity chemical, but even if your exposure level is high, they might be harmful. However, despite the toxicity of the product, if exposure is low, the risk would also be low. To limit exposure and protect your health, always wear personal protective equipment (PPE), as described on the product label.

The following are general PPE guidelines to defend against four entry routes of Pesticide Exposure:



For several toxic chemicals, the respiratory (breathing) system is the fastest and most direct path to the circulatory system. Respiratory safety is particularly necessary when inhaling powders, dust, toxic gases, vapors, or thin droplets.

Use the respirator as planned, and always follow the recommended guidelines. Choose only the licensed equipment, suggested by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and (MSHA) Mine Safety and Health Administration.



Unexpected oral exposure happens most frequently when pesticides are removed from the actual container and put in a normal bottle or a jar. Unfortunately, in these cases, children are the most frequent victims. Store pesticides only in their original containers and maintain the original label attached.

Don’t use your mouth to clear a spray line. Place it in a closed cupboard and/or high shelf to keep out of reach of the children. Once you use pesticides, wash your hands and face thoroughly with soap and water before eating or drinking anything.



Eyes are extremely sensitive to many pesticides and can absorb large quantities of chemicals due to their size. Serious eye contact may result from leaking, falling, or rubbing the eyes with dirty hands or clothes.

Tight-fitting goggles or a full-face guard should be worn if there is any risk of getting pesticides in the eyes, particularly when pouring concentrate or mixing and handling dust. Keep the glass below eye level when pouring from a bottle to prevent falling on your face or protective clothing.



About 95% of all exposures are dermal. Dermal absorption will occur as a result of spilling, leaking, falling, or repairing or fixing equipment. Wear chemical-resistant gloves for the most dermal exposures. Minimum skin protection for most pesticides is a long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, gloves, and suitable footwear.

Consider carrying pants, waterproof hat, and rubber boots for extra precaution. Consequently, while mixing and pouring concentrate or using extremely poisonous materials, wearing a liquid-proof apron or rain suit is highly recommended.

Tests – To decide on the Exposure of a Pesticide

People who regularly work with organophosphates and carbamates should consider having periodic cholinesterase tests. So, they can get rid of the negative impact of pesticides. The cholinesterase test calculates the effect of exposure to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides. Since cholinesterase levels can vary considerably among individuals, a “baseline” must be established for each person.

Cholinesterase Level in a Pesticide

A small percentage of the population has a genetically-determined low cholinesterase level. Also, modest levels of cholinesterase may pose a serious risk to these people. Baseline monitoring will either be performed during the time of year when pesticides are not used or at least 30 days after the latest exposure.

Maintaining a baseline value frequently requires two experiments conducted at least 72 hours apart, often within 14 days. If the test results vary by 20 percent, a third test is also recommended.

Cholinesterase Tests to check the Pesticide Exposure

Cholinesterase tests could be repeated when using organophosphate and carbamate insecticides and compared to the baseline level. The aim of regular cholinesterase testing is to allow a doctor to identify excessive organophosphate and carbamate exposure.

If a laboratory test shows a 30% cholinesterase drop below the specified baseline, the worker should be retested instantly. If a second test also shows cholinesterase drop, the pesticide worker will be removed from further interaction with organophosphate. Your doctor will help decide this test’s frequency.

Related Questions

  1. Are pesticides good or bad?

Pesticides aren’t good, however, the usage has health and environmental impact. So, pesticides try to kill pests by harming humans and the ecosystem. Pesticides have changed over time, but none are great for pest control without side effects.

  1. Can you get sick from pesticides?

The more a person is exposed to a specific drug, the more the damage occurs. Two aspirins can get rid of your headache, but a bottle will kill you. The same way the pesticide, if not used correctly, can also affect people or the environment.

  1. How do you test your body for pesticides?

A blood test, for example, can diagnose acetylcholinesterase enzyme  caused by organophosphate poisoning. The acid levels are measured in urine. Organochlorines can often be detected in the blood, but fat tissue can detect 100-300 times more.

  1. Which harmful pesticides can kill humans?

The  dichloropropene and organochlorines, are considered as the most harmful pesticides. The European Union banned it, whereas 1, 3-dichloropropene is one of the most widely used pesticides in the United States.

  1. What should you do if you are exposed to pesticides?

If pesticide sprays on the skin, wash with water and remove your dresses. Wash skin and hair with soap and water. Later, replace polluted clothes or wash them separately from other clothes.

How do pesticides affect the environment?Opens in a new tab.

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