Posted: 22 August 2000

Chemical products designed to kill or restrict the development of pests. They include fungicides, herbicides and insecticides. Pesticides range from relatively simple elements such as sulphur (S) to complex chemical compounds such as chlorinated hydrocarbons and may be broad-spectrum or narrow-spectrum agents. Pesticides also vary in their persistence in the environment, and in general, the longer they remain chemically stable the greater is their potential for environmental damage. The use of pesticides has undoubtedly benefited society, by preventing disease and improving the food supply. At the same time, ignorance of the environmental impact of pesticides, the indiscriminate use of certain products and inadequate control of the production and use of pesticides has created problems for wildlife and natural vegetation and has threatened human health.