The Dangers and Power of Pesticides Essay

Rachel Carson writes of how pesticides and human interferences with nature have changed the course of the human races future. Carson describes the drastic changes and mutations in nature that pesticides have introduced by the pesticides. She then goes on to describe the effects of the pesticides on people and the animals. Also Carson talks about the long term effects and how they will affect our descendants. Carson’s essay tells of the consequences and havoc that will occur. Carson describes the slippery slope that the human race has started down with the use of pesticides.

The use of pesticides does not actually kill off one hundred percent of the pests and weeds that it intends to kill. The poisons will indeed kill most of the insects, rodents, and weeds that they are intended to kill. But what survives after the spraying occurs is a pest that has been exposed to the pesticide. When the animal or weed is introduced to the pesticide its immune system adapt to the poison. These mutations are what lead to the slippery slope. Each surviving pest procreating, leaving its offspring with the adapted immune system, therefore the pesticide must be changed in order kill 2 he new mutated pests. So eventually more and more pesticides are created to protect the crop. Carson says, “destructive insects often undergo a ‘flareback’ or resurgence, after spraying, in numbers greater than before” (8) Not only must researchers develop new pesticides, but also farmers need to use more. The farmers use the poison for temporary relief from the pest problems confronting them. The pesticides are a quick and easy solution for a pest issue that, ironically, have left people with a larger and stronger force of pests.

Carson says that the problem is not actually with the pests, but with overproduction in farming. She argues that the aim of researchers and the government should be fix overproduction instead of dealing with “mythical situations”. Carson compares the overuse of pesticides to the dangers to human beings with the damages from the A-Bomb. Not only are the chemicals dangerous to the human race, they also are devastating to the animals. These pesticides kill many insects and leave many diseased or poisonous insects in the pesticide’s wake.

These poisonous or diseased insects are eaten by predators that digest the insects that have already been infected with the poisons and diseases. These poisoned often serve as prey for more predators. These new predators inherit the diseases from their prey. The chemical runoff trickles down to streams and rivers that poison and kill fish and their predators as well. Countless species of wildlife are being sacrificed for the unnecessarily powerful protection of crops. Not only wildlife is being immediately affected by these dangerous pesticides. People’s foods are also contaminated.

The pesticides are sprayed in abundance on the crops that cover everything in sight and soaked into the soil that new crop 3 yields grow from each year. Carson states, scientists introduce “500 new chemicals to which the bodies of men and animals are required somehow to adapt each year, chemicals totally outside the limits of biologic experience” (7) These harmful poisons are consumed by unknowing people each day, with a considerable amount of danger to the consumer. The damage these pesticides may ultimately bring upon mankind is still unknown.

The effects may be damaging for generations to come. There is proof that radiation results in birth defects, diseases, and mutations. The nuclear bombs dropped in Japan during WWII still show residual effects on the people affected by the blast. The people did not even have to feel the blast to be affected, but the radiation in the water supply and airborne radiation caused much trouble for the future generations of Japanese. Carson worries the vast amounts of chemicals and poisons being put into the bodies of people everyday will result in similar consequences.

She compares the pesticides to the nuclear radiation in the essay: “Similarly, chemicals sprayed on croplands or forests or gardens lie long in soil, entering into human organisms, passing from one to another in a chain of poisoning and death” (5) She describes that these poisons may result in a similarly devastating fashion to people as the nuclear blasts. There is no limit of horrific possibilities future generations will endure. Carson believes that mankind has left its future with a difficult mess to clean up. She tells the readers of the dangerous possibilities that pesticides have introduced.

The pesticides in fact over time created super pests that adapt extremely quickly and return in greater numbers than befor. She also discusses how pesticides 4 are used to kill a select few insects or weeds but end up killing entire species of animals and can even kill people. The most frightening consequence that Carson has brought up in her essay is the possible dangers that may affect our children and children’s children. Rachel Carson opened the eyes of millions with her essay “The Obligation to Endure” to how pesticides can and are affecting mankind.