Medical Encyclopedia


Medical Encyclopedia

Other encyclopedia topics:  A-Ag  Ah-Ap  Aq-Az  B-Bk  Bl-Bz  C-Cg  Ch-Co  Cp-Cz  D-Di  Dj-Dz  E-Ep  Eq-Ez  F  G  H-Hf  Hg-Hz  I-In  Io-Iz  J  K  L-Ln  Lo-Lz  M-Mf  Mg-Mz  N  O  P-Pl  Pm-Pz  Q  R  S-Sh  Si-Sp  Sq-Sz  T-Tn  To-Tz  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  0-9 


Contents of this page:

Alternative Names   

Pesticides and food

Definition    Return to top

Pesticides are substances that protect plants against molds, fungi, and insects. The term pesticide refers to all pest control substances, including insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.

The use of pesticides helps prevent crop loss and potential human disease. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are currently more than 865 registered pesticides. Less than half of those are used to protect our food supply. (Overall, most experts agree the United States has a safe food supply.)

Man-made pesticides are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This agency controls how much man-made pesticide can be applied on crops, and how much can remain on the food you buy.

Side Effects    Return to top

Because pesticides are meant to kill, they do pose some risks. Certain pesticides, such as those that contain nicotine, can be very toxic. Biopesticides, which are created from natural materials, are less risky. 

Large scale studies suggest that pesticide residues are unlikely to be an important risk factor for cancer for general public.

Update Date: 8/9/2007

Updated by: Eric Perez, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

A.D.A.M. Logo

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2009, A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.