Pesticides intervene in different vital metabolic processes in various organisms. The effects of insecticides range from damage to the transmission of nerve impulses and inhibition of blood clotting to paralysis of the respiratory and circulatory centers. Besides the target organisms such as insects, fungi, or weeds, non-targeted organisms are also always affected by pesticide use. These include wild animals and plants, domestic animals and crops, and human beings. In humans, exposure to pesticides can lead to unspecific adverse health effects which are referred to as poisonings. Among the typical symptoms of poisoning in humans that are relatively easy to diagnose as acute pesticide poisoning are fatigue, headaches and body aches, skin discomfort, skin rashes, poor concentration, feelings of weakness, circulatory problems, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, impaired vision, tremors, panic attacks, cramps, etc., and in severe cases coma and death. Continue reading the Report on Pesticides and Health Hazards by PAN Germany.

Evidence relating to the negative health impacts of pesticide exposure is mounting rapidly. New findings reported at the European Respiratory Society annual meeting in September 2007 showed adults in contact with pesticides are at higher risk of developing respiratory problems. An EU study on Parkinson's disease found that low  [Pesticide container © MDRGF] level exposure may increase the chances of developing the condition - which now affects 1% of EU citizens aged over 60. And scientists in Canada have found evidence linking pesticides with cancer, including leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

While EU food safety regulations set maximum pesticide levels, current risk assessments don't take into account the long-term impacts of exposure to multiple pesticides residues.


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Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the European Union, European Commission, DG Environment, LIFE programme. Sole responsibility for this publication lies with the authors and the funders are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.