Overuse of pesticides and harmful chemicals in fruits and vegetables have caused negative impacts on human health, and such practice has also led to degradation of soil fertility. The fruits and vegetables grown within the country have been found to contain high amount of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Consumption of such fruits and vegetables leads to long-term health risks.
The amount of pesticide residues found in vegetables, fruits and crops pose serious health risks for human body, especially for the children. Farmers in our country apply various types of pesticides to protect the vegetables and crops from unwanted pests. They, however, do not follow necessary guidelines or safety standard to get rid of the pesticide residues. Hence, it is high time to educate farmers about the negative impact of overusing pesticides on human health and environment.
Reportedly, one to five million farmers suffer from pesticide poisoning every year and at least 20,000 die from different diseases caused by pesticide residues. It is said that pregnant women and the elderly are at most risk of chemical poisoning which may become life-threatening. People of all ages are also consuming pesticide residues unknowingly through their daily food intake. Different studies across the world have already established the link between pesticide exposure of mothers and subsequent neurologic outcome on unborn babies and cognitive disorder in children.
A study of University Berkeley of California found that exposure to one type of pesticide (organophosphate) during pregnancy was linked to earlier delivery, an increase in abnormal reflexes in infants, poorer mental development at 24 months of age, and increased risk of developmental disorder.
Pregnant women should ensure that they do not come in contact with pesticides. They should maintain extra caution while eating fruits and vegetables. Others should vacate the area as directed on the pesticide package, remove food, dishes, and utensils from the area before using a pesticide and wash the area where food is prepared following any application of pesticides. Besides Bangladesh needs a new pesticides management law to address issues related to the unsafe use of pesticides. It must also ensure strong enforcement to address farmers on how to avoid acute toxicity and prevent chronic toxicity due to pesticide residues in food items.