Thomas DinkelJarret K. RoseEng-10112-17-17Pesticides: A Pest Themselves?Both pest infestations and pesticides are known to becausations for negative impacts on human health. Such impacts include, but arenot limited to, allergic reactions, COPD, heart disease, cancer and more.
Theincreased use of pesticides, especially when applied by consumers rather than aprofessional, as often seen in low income settings which often are prone tofalling victim to pest infestations. Increased use of pesticide use like thisover time has resulted in pests becoming resistant to the pesticides used andin turn resulted in increased pest presence. The implementation of saferalternatives known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods, are now moreimportant that ever. IPM alone or used in combination with pesticides is muchmore cost effective which especially benefits those within low income settings.During the past few decades pesticides have been used inculture in nearly every aspect of an environmental setting to control pestswhether it be within dwellings or in rural settings to protect crops andlivestock. The issue stemming from the pesticide use is that the exposure hasbeen shown to cause serious illness.
The increased pesticide use of the pastfew decades has increased the health issues as a result. Higher amounts ofpesticide presence, largely coming from those applied by the consumer have beenseen in lower income neighborhoods due to a higher recorded presence of pests.This can be seen in cities such as NYC. Combined use of both consumer appliedand professional extermination methods may indicate a persistent infestationwithin a dwelling, either from the type of infesting insect and its resistanceto common pesticides, or the wrong use of procedure or inappropriate use ofchemicals used for the treatment (Kevin and Ralph, 392).A recent study was done in NYC in order to determine theeffects residual pesticide chemicals used within low income dwellings had onresidents. It included a study on pregnant women to determine if there were anyeffects on the unborn fetus. Again, this particular setting provided the idealenvironment due to the need for pesticides and the abundance of pest presencewithin the low-income spaces. It was found that among the 314 pregnant womenobserved, a staggering 100% of these women showed detectable levels ofpesticides in their system, three entirely different types of pesticidesaltogether (Kevin and Ralph, 395).
The same pesticides were found in bloodsamples were found not just in mothers, but the newborn baby at the time of thedelivery. This data suggested there is a placental transfer of these pesticidechemicals can often occur. These pesticides did not go without their negative effects,either. One chemical in particular, organophosphate chlorpyfrifos, resulted ina significant contributor to lowered birth weight and length.
It had also shownto cause poorer metal and motor development by the age of 3 (Williams andWhyatt, 1684).Widespread use within pest treatment of these pesticides isa significant cause of the health threats to the public. Children have been provento be most vulnerable groups within the public to fall victim to these healtheffects. Children are vulnerable because of their small body mass which resultsin a far more detrimental effect on their overall health. It has been shownthat the correlation between cancer and the direct exposure of pesticides is especiallytrue when it comes to children. The same is true for conditions related tobreathing. Children who have been exposed to pesticides are at a much higherrisk of developing asthma before 5 years of age (Williams and Whyatt, 1684).Among the issues linked to pesticide exposure existsevidence that it causes a variety of serious, at times fatal, respiratoryailments.
Conditions include, COPD, asthma, cardiovascular disease, lung cancerand many more. Studies have shown that pesticide exposure negatively effectsthe cardiovascular as well as the respiratory system but it has also becomeclear that pesticide exposure is also the likely cause for chronic respiratory symptoms.While more research needs to be done on how likely pesticide exposure is tocause lung cancer, it was found that among women in particular seem to show apositive link between the two. The same was also true for those working withinthe agricultural setting within land that utilizes arsenic based pesticides (E.Darcun and M. Darcun, S15). It is important to note that many of the samechemicals used within the agricultural setting have also been used withincommercial or residential settings, therefore, residents within the low-incomesetting are often exposed to the same chemicals shown to cause negative healthconditions within those working and living in the agricultural setting (Walshand Zhu, 3). The increased use of such chemicals and the increased pestpresence due to the ever-dwindling efficacy of these pesticides is nowmonumental.
This use of pesticides could almost be regarded as irresponsibleand it is imperative that new methods find their place within the realm of pestcontrol to keep the environment and ultimately the people living within theirenvironments safe from harmful chemicals which result in poor health which cansometimes be fatal.As pointed out before, while we are seeing an increase inpesticide use we are not seeing a decrease in pest population, rather, we areseeing a steady increase in presence of pests. This is due to many pests havingdeveloped a resistance to the chemicals commonly used in pesticides and thesesame chemicals are often used across the board with no exclusivity to aparticular setting, be it, agricultural or urban. Urbanization has not shownany time of stopping due to the global population continuing to grow. This haslead to the use both pests and pesticide use respectively. Pests that arecommonly found and treated for within the urban and low-income settings includethe common House Fly, German Cockroach, and Mosquitos. House Flies areextremely common and have become very well adapted to habitations of humans.These pests thrive on our dwellings, garbage dumps, food storage and more.
Whenmost people think of these flies it is often thought they are nothing more thana mere annoyance, however, the House Fly is shown to carry a multitude ofdiseases including an excess of 100 human diseases. Among these diseases arepathogens that have also become resistant to our antibiotics. This makes the fly’sresistance to our pesticides that much more alarming (Walsh and Zhu, 3).House flies are generally controlled using treatment whichutilizes a broad range of different chemicals. Over time though, the house fly hasbuilt a resistance to most of these which amounts to around 62 unique activeingredients. Perhaps more problematic, the house fly treatment methods requiremultiple applications of the these chemicals before they can even start to haveany effect at all. German Cockroaches are often treated with many of the samechemicals seen within treatment of the house fly and have also built up theirown resistance.
The German cockroach is one of the most common indoor pests andare also responsible for many negative health effects in terms of bothallergens and food contamination. Cockroaches can trigger allergic reactions bymeans of their feces, cast skins and even saliva, all of which are known tocause outburst of reactions and even psychological harm to sensitiveindividuals. They are often the cause of initiating asthmatic attacks especiallywithin children (Walsh and Zhu, 4). This is especially true for those livingwithin low income settings as seen in NYC (Evans and Kass, 1219). Currently asit stands, the German cockroach is rated at No. 2 pesticide resistant pestwithin the urban setting in the world.
They have become resistant to 42 uniqueactive ingredients within 219 documented cases worldwide. German cockroachpopulations have continued to grow within the urban setting and low-income dwellingsconsequently due to such a high resistance to pesticides. However, since the md1980s there has been an increase within baits used to treat such infestations.These typically fall within IPM methods, however, the bats used have often usedchemicals which have remained unchanged since implementation and it has beenshown that German cockroaches have also since developed a behavioral resistanceto these baits and therefore their efficacy has decreased significantly. Thechemicals used within these now aging bait methods needs to be reviewed andimproved upon while also being used in conjunction with other IPM methods inorder to decrease the number of chemicals used for treatment of the pest (Walshand Zhu, 4).Another very common pest experienced within low incomesettings, are for the most part seen in virtually any setting, is the Mosquito.
The Mosquito is often an after thought when pests within urban and low-incomesettings come to mind, however, they are nearly as common as the house fly andthe German cockroach. No different from the pests discussed earlier, theMosquito is responsible for the transmission of pathogens and parasites inhumans. Among ailments seen in the transmission to humans include Malaria,yellow fever and West Nile virus. All of which can prove deadly, especially ifnot treated properly and promptly. It should come as no surprise that the samechemical active ingredients used in pesticides to treat cockroaches and houseflies discussed earlier are also used for treatment of mosquitos. Like thecockroach and the house fly, the mosquito has built a strong resistance tothese pesticides.Among the house fly, German cockroach and the mosquito, themost common active ingredient used fr treatment of infestations between them iscalled Pyrethroid.
This is because the chemical is often cheap and readilyavailable. In fact, this chemical is not only the main chemical used formosquito treatment but one of the only chemicals used. This is seen worldwideand has become such a commonplace for use in treatment that the resistance seenin pests is only becoming greater. Pyrethroids are no exception in terms ofchemicals that cause negative health effects within humans which include cancerand breathing problems such as COPD and asthma (Walsh and Zhu, 5).
The issuehere is twofold. Pests have increased in population due to pesticide resistanceand therefore pesticide use has increased in an attempt to combat this pestpresence, both of which have resulted in the increase of presence of chemicalsand allergens harmful to human health. As the pesticide use increases, so willthe pest population and the reports of health issues within humans.
Again, thiswill significantly impact those within low-income housing who are often victim toa large presence of pests.While pesticide treatment has shown to directly result innegative human health via inhalation, ingestion and even skin absorption, it iseasy to see why decreasing our reliance solely on the use of these chemicalsand begin to transition to alternatives. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) involvesmethods with a primary focus on improving sanitary and structural conditions toprevent pests from obtaining the essentials like food, water, harborage, andmovement within environments and includes the judicious use of pesticides afterdetermining if there is a need to involve them in combination with thealternative methods. Studies have made it clear that educating individuals onIPM, either by itself or when used in combination with commercial cleaningservices, has been successful at reducing cockroach population and the level ofcockroach allergens within a space.
The same study was able to show that eventhe most modest of single-visit IPM intervention within public housing, ofteninclusive of low-income housing, is more successful at reducing cockroach presenceand allergen levels compared to the traditional scheduled pesticide treatmenton its own (Evans and Kass, 1219).The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene(DOHMH) and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) have been some of thefirst to implement such IMP methods which have been designed with the idea ofkeeping these methods low cost and easily scaled. The NYCHA has made it apriority to train an entire unit within its workforce. As it stands, there arearound 75 trained pest control professionals on IPM strategies.