Pesticides are hazardous by design and commonly do not discriminate between their target and non-target species; unintended impacts on human health include hormone disruption, birth defects, cancers, and Alzheimers. Many of the most tragic consequences of an over-reliance on outdated and dangerous chemical pesticides are in the Global South where regulations, awareness and safety controls are weak or altogether absent.
Pesticides have been linked to the collapse of species including bees, fish, bats and birds. Some are ‘persistent organic pollutants’ (POPs), such as DDT, which can last for decades in the environment. The residues of one POP, endosulfan, have been found in the Arctic and the Himalayas miles from where they were applied, and in tissue samples taken from species ranging from vultures to minke whales and crocodiles.