A pesticide is a substance or a mixture of substances used for
killing pests: organisms dangerous to cultivated plants or to
animals. The term applies to various pesticides such as
insecticide, fungicide, herbicide and nematocide. Applications of
pesticides to crops and animals may leave residues in or on food
when it is consumed, and those specified derivatives are considered
to be of toxicological significance. Pesticides which are used for
preventing or destroying pest is having more negative impact on our
ecological system when compared to its desired action. Pesticides
are carried by wind to other areas and make them contaminate.
Pesticides are also causing water pollution and some pesticides are
persistent organic pollutants which contribute to soil
contamination. Pesticide residue refers to the pesticides that may
remain on or in food after they are applied to food crops. The
maximum allowable levels of these residues in foods are often
stipulated by regulatory bodies in many countries. Exposure of the
general population to these residues most commonly occurs through
consumption of treated food sources, or being in close contact to
areas treated with pesticides such as farms or lawns. Defined by
the World Health Organization (WTO) as, "Any substance or mixture
of substances in food for man or animals resulting from the use of
a pesticide and includes any specified derivatives, such as
degradation and conversion products, metabolites, reaction
products, and impurities that are considered to be of toxicological
significance." Many of chemical residues, especially derivatives of
chlorinated pesticides, exhibit bioaccumulation which could build
up to harmful levels in the body as well as in the environment.
Persistent chemicals can be magnified through the food chain and
have been detected in products ranging from meat, poultry, and
fish, to vegetable oils, nuts, and various fruits and vegetables.
The publication in 1962 of the famous Silent Spring by the
biologist Rachel Carson made popular the risks associated to DDT
(dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane). This was followed by the
cancelation of this pesticide for agricultural uses by US
authorities. Other prominent examples of pesticide cancelation
include EDB (ethylene dibromide) in 1983 and methyl bromide in
2005. It is well known now that a significant fraction of
pesticides are carcinogenic; for instance, 18% of all insecticides
and 90% of all fungicides were found to be carcinogenic (NAS, 1987
`Regulating pesticides in food'. Washington DC, National Academy of
Sciences.). It is also well known that pesticide residues remain
for long periods of time, and that they are especially toxic to the
young. Also, pesticides kill domestic animals, fishes and bees.
Moreover, their use results in the development and evolution of
pesticide resistance in insects, weeds and plant pathogens.
Nevertheless hundreds of pesticides are used worldwide, and some
pesticides are used in some countries but not in others. For
instance, the main pesticide which is used in corn production in
the US is atrazine, but this pesticide has been banned in the EU
because of its toxicity since 2004. This book is highlighting
pesticides residue in our food, food safety, its impact on our
health, health risk, pesticides residue in fruits, vegetables, milk
& its products and honey bees and finally its removal. Hope
this book contributes in raising awareness about the use of
pesticides and the risk associated with its use leading finally to
the rational use of pesticides having its benefits without
compromising our health. The publication was made possible due to
the efforts and the expertise of the contributing authors. They are
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