The Health Effect of Chlorinated Pesticides

            Chlorinated pesticides are a class of chemical compounds used to kill insects. They were first introduced in the 1930s, and the most famous is DDT (Rajani & Daye, 2020). They tend to degrade into more toxic byproducts, which can remain active in the environment for decades. Chlorinated pesticides are used in agriculture, industry, and mosquito control programs. In the past twenty years, their use has increased dramatically. This dramatic increase in the use of chlorinated pesticides has been accompanied by an equal increase in the number of health problems associated with them. Chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds enter the body through respiration, drinking water, and ingestion of food. The chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides are toxic to insects. They are also toxic to higher animals, including humans. However, they are sufficiently selective in their action that their use as insecticides and herbicides has been extensive.

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The toxicity of the chlorinated hydrocarbons is not a simple matter of chemical structure, although some gross correlations can be made between structure and toxicity. For example, the greatest toxicity has been observed with highly chlorinated compounds such as DDT, dieldrin, and toxaphene. Correspondingly, the lower chlorinated compounds and those with no chlorine have shown substantially less toxicity for all tested species (Frantz, 2017). The mechanism of toxicity is an extremely complex process that is not well understood. The target organs are the nervous system, liver, and kidneys. The mode of action involves several steps: absorption (through the skin or digestive tract or by inhalation), distribution throughout the body (the blood stream), metabolism within the various organs, and finally, excretion. The health effects are dependent upon the dosage and duration of exposure. The symptoms of health problems due to chlorinated pesticides include liver damage, kidney damage, central nervous system damage, congenital disabilities, cancer, and death.

The Risks of Chlorinated Pesticides in Urban Areas

Chlorinated pesticides are compounds that have chlorine atoms bonded to hydrocarbon molecules. The chlorine atoms bond with the carbon atoms of the hydrocarbon molecule, creating an electrically charged particle (Bohinc et al., 2016). These electrically charged particles are capable of killing insects and other pests. Because they are electrically charged, these pesticides are attracted to water. In addition, they can sink into the soil and remain there for many months after being sprayed. For example, DDT is a well-known chlorinated pesticide that has been banned for years because it poses a significant health risk to humans and animals alike(Rajani & Daye, 2020). It is often found in urban water supplies due to run-off from agricultural fields or other sources outside of residential neighborhoods. However, since DDT does not dissolve easily in water, it tends to settle into soil or sediments, where it can remain before being washed away by rain or floods. As a result of these two properties, chlorinated pesticides can be very dangerous in urban settings and gardens. They may get into rivers and lakes through run-off from rain or leaching into groundwater below the surface. They may also kill insects in the ground, such as worms.

 The second property of chlorinated pesticides is that they degrade slowly over time. This means that once they have been sprayed on a plant or tree, they will stay on the fruit or leaves. For example, it has been found that, on average, apples contain a few parts per million (ppm) of chlorinated pesticide residues even though apple trees are not sprayed with these chemicals (Nguyen et al., 2020). Pesticides can be harmful, even life-threatening, when applied incorrectly or excessively. Research has shown that chlorinated pesticides have been harmful to humans in the past. As a result, some of them have been banned in the United States (Rajani & Daye, 2020). However, these pesticides often remain in the soil for many years, and plants can absorb them. They also accumulate in the adipose tissue of humans. This can lead to a buildup of dangerous chemicals in the body. One study suggested that gardeners who use these pesticides may have higher levels of chlorinated pesticides in their bodies (Sarwar, 2016). This is especially true for people who use these products regularly or live near areas where they are used. Urban gardening may put people at risk of exposure to chlorinated pesticides. People who live in urban areas are more likely to have gardens than those who do not. Many people enjoy growing vegetables and fruits in their backyards because they believe this method are healthier than buying them at a store. However, some studies have found that urban gardeners have higher levels of chlorinated pesticides in their bodies than those who do not grow food at home.

The risks are considerable. For example, chlorinated pesticides in urban areas have resulted in the contamination of water, soil, and air with dangerous levels of these chemicals (Sarwar, 2016). This has been particularly problematic because most such contaminants are not biodegradable, so they can remain dangerous for years after they were first applied. Furthermore, the use of chlorinated pesticides can result in these chemicals entering the food chain, either through direct ingestion or by being absorbed by plants and carried into the food supply that way. The result is that people who eat vegetables or other products grown or raised on contaminated land could be at risk of serious health problems, including cancer and neurological conditions (Sarwar, 2016). Many people who live in urban areas have small gardens to grow their vegetables or ornamental plants. Because it is difficult to keep such gardens completely free of unwanted pests, gardeners often turn to pesticides for help. Unfortunately, many gardeners do not understand how risky this practice can be and may not realize that there are alternatives available that are less toxic to humans and other animals. This can lead to a situation where people exposed to chlorinated pesticides unknowingly put themselves at risk of serious health problems.


Chlorinated pesticides pose a risk to the gardener or whoever eats the produce. One solution is to treat lawns with non-chlorinated pesticides (Kuppusamy et al., 2016). If homeowners wish to use a chlorinated pesticide, they should do so with great caution. If they must use a chlorinated pesticide, they should wear protective equipment and apply chemicals only on calm days so that drifting does not occur. Various types of gloves are available that can be used to prevent direct contact with pesticides. For example, plastic or rubber gloves can be worn while spraying a pesticide on plants. In addition, special shoes and boots are also available that can be worn while working in the garden where pesticides have been sprayed. Second, certain types of clothing can help reduce the risk of exposure to pesticides. For example, cotton clothing is naturally resistant to many pesticides and is generally easier to clean after contact with a pesticide than clothing made from other materials. For example, if a gardener accidentally drops a pesticide on his cotton shirt or pants, he can easily wash it off with soap and water. However, if the gardener dropped a pesticide on his shirt or pants made from synthetic material such as polyester or nylon, it would probably be impossible to remove the pesticide from his clothes completely.

The homeowner should also read the directions on the label carefully before beginning any application. Another solution is for homeowners not to use pesticides that contain chlorinated hydrocarbons as an ingredient (Tharp & Bowser, 2012). Many manufacturers have developed products that do not contain these harmful ingredients. Some companies have begun producing natural insecticidal soap sprays that work quite well against most insects prey on plants. There are also some organic pesticides available in stores now. They may be more expensive but have fewer harmful side effects than traditional chemicals containing chlorinated hydrocarbons. Consumers can reduce their exposure to chlorinated pesticides by eating organic products. Consumers should buy food and beverages labeled organic to avoid consuming harmful chemicals.

Organic crops and livestock are produced without chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or fungicides (Duran-Lara et al., 2020). If a farmer grows certified organic crops or raises livestock, they must follow strict production methods that have been developed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). By purchasing food labeled organic, consumers can be sure they will not be drinking chorine-based chemicals and their morning coffee or eating these chemicals when they bite into an apple at lunchtime. Second, consumers can also reduce their exposure to pesticides by buying food that is grown locally and seasonally. Food grown locally is more likely to have been produced without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and fungicides because local farmers can use traditional farming methods and sell their products directly to consumers (Duran-Lara et al., 2020). Local farmers are also more likely to grow food in the season because if they grew it out of season, they would have to use artificial means such as greenhouses.

In conclusion, the risks of pesticides are well known. The main health effects, mainly cancer, congenital disabilities, and learning disabilities, are well known. The question is not whether pesticides cause those things; that is a foregone conclusion. The question is, what effect do they have? The evidence for their effects has been accumulating for about 20 years and is now pretty persuasive. It should be noted that there are new technologies available to remove pesticides from water supplies. One such technology is water filtration systems that use activated carbon filters. These filters can effectively remove the majority of pesticides from water supplies. As a result, it is recommended that more research be done on this topic so that we can find solutions to this growing problem.


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