The Effect of Pesticides on the Environment Essay

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The Effect of Pesticides on the Environment Whenever the subject of pesticides comes up, it's easy to point a finger at farmers. But we homeowners, with our manicured lawns and exotic flower gardens, have nothing to be smug about. Each year we pour approximately 136 million pounds of pesticides on our homes, lawns, and gardens, which amounts to three times more per acre than the average farmer applies. In fact, most of the wildlife pesticide poisonings reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency result from home use. According to the EPA's wildlife mortality incident database, just three of the chemicals commonly used in the garden and home--diazinon, chlorpyrifos, and brodifacoum--kill thousands of birds each year. In the…show more content…
"It's like mowing the lawn. People have been using it for years. It's hard to get them to look at alternatives." Oddly enough, both diazinon and chlorpyrifos (see chart, below), because of their high toxicity to birds and wildlife, meet the Environmental Protection Agency's criteria for "restricted use," which means that they require a permit and training to purchase. The Rachel Carson Council petitioned the EPA to upgrade the label for diazinon in 1997 and last year requested that the use of chlorpyrifos be banned around dwellings. When and where pesticides are used is also critical. The majority of bird kills occur in February in southern states, where the early growing season and spring migration coincide, followed by March, May, and April, the months when birds as well as gardeners are on the move. Birds with the highest risk of exposure include waterfowl, such as brant geese, which have been known to eat large quantities of pesticide-treated foliage. Seed-eating songbirds, because they are attracted to pesticide granules and treated seeds, are also at high risk. A third hard-hit group includes scavengers as well as raptors such as red-tailed hawks or great-horned owls, which often feed on pesticide-poisoned prey. To help reduce the pesticide threat, the National Audubon Society has launched BirdCast, a cooperative program with Cornell University's Laboratory of Ornithology, Clemson University's Radar Ornithology
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