Pesticides and Herbicides

tractor spraying chemicals on a fieldPesticides and herbicides are effective tools for agricultural and horticultural production, as well as gardening and lawn maintenance; however, their use has some consequences. A classic example is the pesticide DDT. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or DDT, was first synthesized in 1874, and its insecticide properties were discovered in 1939. It was heavily used towards the end of WWII to control the spread of malaria and typhus. Then it was used in agriculture in the U.S. until 1972 when it was banned. DDT is an environmental and human health hazard because of its persistent affinity to sorb to soil and its propensity to bioaccumulate, especially in predatory birds. In addition, DDT is a developmental and reproductive toxin and a carcinogen.

Modern pesticides and herbicides may not have as extreme consequences as DDT, but they do have an effect on the environment. ISTC researchers are investigating the environmental impacts of several pesticides and herbicides, as well as devising novel solutions to prevent environmental contamination.

worker with canister on his back that contains chemicals he is spraying on the farm fieldworkers putting on personal protective equipment before spraying the field with chemicals