The Effects of Insecticide

Pesticides, or insecticides, are chemicals used to control infestation in a garden, farm or living area. According to Penn State University, these chemicals must be biologically active, or toxic, to affect the pests. Although targeted toward insects, insecticides may have many other undesirable effects.

Acute Toxicity

Acute toxicity is applied to insecticides which, with one exposure, can cause injury to a person or animal. This may cause either long-term or short-term effects. According to Penn State University, there are four routes of insecticide exposure: dermal (skin), inhalation (lungs), oral (mouth) and the eyes. Acute toxicity is measured according to the absorptive qualities of the chemical in one of the four entry points. Acute effects will usually appear within the first 24 hours of exposure. If treated, the effect will likely be reversible, although if not treated, acute effects may lead to serious neurological breakdown and potentially death.

Allergic Effects

According to the University of Missouri, some people will develop an allergic reaction to a pesticide soon after exposure. This is called sensitization. Asthma, skin, eye and nose irritation are all potential allergic effects. Some people are more susceptible than others to allergic reactions, while others develop allergic reactions during prolonged exposure. These may be categorized as delayed effects.

Delayed Effects

Chronic effects, according to the University of Missouri Extension, are classified as those effects that persist over long periods or do not appear until several years after exposure to the chemical. Reproductive damage, tumors, cancer and changes to the body's chromosomes are some of the potential dangers and symptoms of delayed effects. These will not appear until at least 24 hours after exposure and are hard to treat if the person exposed to the insecticide was unaware of exposure.

Keywords: insecticides, health effects, insecticide warnings

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on eHow.com, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.