Pesticides poisoning

Every year on December 3 International day of fighting with pesticides is marked – this is the day when in 1984 there was a catastrophe on pesticides plant in Bhopal (India) as a result of which about 200 people died.

On this day environmentalists of the whole world hold certain actions and protests reminding about accumulation in the environment of great amounts of harmful chemicals, in particular pesticides which are accumulated in the environment and build up in organisms of people and animals causing serious consequences.

According to data from the World Health Organization, every year up to 25 million of pesticides poisonings are registered/ They are caused by numerous violations of the rules of working with them, improper transportation and in particular improper storage.

Academician of the Academy of Medical Science of Ukraine Trakhtenberg I. M. presents cases of pesticides poisonings in his monograph “Book on poisons and poisonings” (2000).

In the village of Ust’-Kinelskyi near Samara (Russia) barrels with pesticides were stored in the storehouse of the Agricultural Academy. When the premises were being renovated, 6.8 tons of pesticides were thrown into the nearest ravine. 10 people got poisoned and 200 м2 of land were contaminated.

In the collective farm “Khromtsov” in Beloyarsk rayon of Svierdlovsk oblast (Russia) a group of school children got poisoned when they were weeding carrots. 7 out of 26 victims were hospitalized.

In Peru in the village of Andean (department Cusco) there was a mass poisonings with pesticides among children. They suffered from acute intoxication after consuming for breakfast powder milk contaminated with a high toxic pesticide meant for grain treatment. 20-30 minutes after drinking milk children got gripes. As a result of such heavy poisoning, 28 children died and 23 children were hospitalized.

Despite relatively local usage of pesticides, some of them got spread on the whole planet. Thus, in Antarctica, that is dozens of thousand kilometers away from zones where pesticides are used, the ice shell accumulated more than 2,000 tons of DDT which was prohibited for usage more than 20 years ago. Organisms of fishes and penguins living near this continent contain this pesticide.

In Ukraine until now there is no proper registration of cases of pesticides poisonings. Most of light poisonings are not registered, and the victims content themselves with self-assistance or a visit to first-aid post. In existing official statistic forms all poisonings including those with pesticides are placed under “other diseases”. Besides, because of the change of the ownership form and creation of small private farmers and use of seasonal workers, the owners are not eager to register cases of poisonings. Only officially employed people who suffered from group poisonings get to the Institute of Ecohygiene and Toxicology (Kyiv). The analysis of poisonings with pesticides during last 15 years shows that 13 group poisonings had place and more than 400 workers were injured.

The term “pesticides” now unifies about 1,000 chemicals on the basis of which the world industry produces over 80 thousand products. Total amount of pesticides production according different sources is equal to 2-5 million tons. On average in the world scale one hectare gets 0.3 kg of pesticides, and in the countries of Western Europe it’s more than 3 kg.

Domestic production of pesticides is constantly growing and now is about 2 thousand tons a year. Average cost of pesticides is $10-12/l. If we take into consideration that in Ukraine 32 million hectares of agricultural lands are cultivated, agricultural complex of Ukraine spends at least $320 mln on substances for plant protection.

The variety of pesticides used in Ukraine has greatly changed over last 5 years. Organochlorine and organophosphorus compounds are substituted by pesticides of new generation from the group of sulfonylurea, triazoles, perethroids.