How do chemicals affect plants

Effects of pesticides on humans and the environment

Effects on the air

Highly volatile active ingredients can escape into the air through evaporation, especially in dry and warm weather, and then in some cases can later be detected again in the rain.

Side effects on living things

Insecticides, often also fungicides and herbicides, kill not only harmful but also beneficial organisms. Plant protection products should therefore be used and dosed in a targeted manner. Whether a product is poisonous for bees or fish or dangerous for the environment can be checked on the label or in the list of approved pesticides.

Another problem is the accumulation of pesticides in the food chain. Substances that are not or very poorly broken down in the body and hardly excreted accumulate in the food chain. The further we follow the course of the food chain, the higher the concentrations of such a substance.

Resistance can also be a problem. These can arise when the same active ingredients are used repeatedly.

Effects on human health

Chemicals can enter the body in a number of ways: through direct ingestion through the mouth, through inhalation, or through contact with the skin. The effect can take place locally at the point of impact (e.g. a skin burn) or have a systemic effect in another location in the body (e.g. visual impairment after absorption of insecticide mist via the respiratory tract). Since pesticides can also be absorbed through food, maximum concentrations of the permitted residues are specified. In order to ensure safety during use, users of plant protection products must have a specialist license, which is acquired after successfully completing a course. Specialist license holders are also obliged to obtain regular information and further training on the best practice.

Correct handling of the mostly toxic products is important. When handling it, make sure that direct contact with the agent is prevented as far as possible.