There are many different insecticides and pesticides, but all of them are poisonous. Marketed for killing insects, these insecticide chemicals can also be harmful to humans, pets and other animals. Research any insecticide you plan to use thoroughly to evaluate the risks of the chemicals, and take steps to minimize the risk of exposure.
Although some insecticide chemicals are harmless in small doses, in sufficient quantities they can be extremely harmful or deadly to humans and animals. According to DrCutler.com, acute poisoning with organophosphate insecticides can cause seizures, coma, heart arrhythmia, shock, respiratory failure and death in children. Pets are also at risk, since they can accidentally eat, step in or rub up against an insecticide, resulting in high dose contamination.
In lower doses, some insecticides and other pesticides are linked to chronic health conditions. According to HealthierTalk.com, women who use insecticides are at a greater risk of developing the autoimmune disorders lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Some insecticides have a direct and potentially harmful affect on the nervous system. According to the EPA, carbamate pesticides disrupt the regulation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, affect the nervous system by disrupting an enzyme that regulates acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. Pyrethroid pesticides are also toxic to the nervous system. According to Defiant.net, these insecticide chemicals can cause a number of different symptoms in animals owing to their neurotoxicity, including excessive salivation, tearing and urination, diarrhea, muscle weakness, twitching and difficulty breathing.
One of the biggest problems with insecticide chemicals is bioaccumulation. Many insecticides are stored in the bodies of animals that eat foods contaminated with them. As predators eat these animals, the concentration becomes higher and higher. Humans, at the top of the food chain, can accumulate substantial amounts of insecticides, sometimes with unknown and potentially harmful consequences. In one study cited by DrCutler.com, the pesticide chlorpyrifos (CPF) was discovered in more than 80 percent of urine samples examined.