A fungus is an organism from a large group of organisms belonging to kingdom fungi. Fungicides are biological control agents used to kill or maim fungi. Fungi may grow on plants making them extremely detrimental. Generally, humans rely very much on plants as their source of food and other products like oils. Hence, plant fungicides are a welcome solution to the human population as a way to eliminate fungi. Powdered plant fungicides contain up to 90% sulphur making them extremely toxic. Below are some effects of plant fungicides on our health.
Exposure to plant fungicide may be from different mediums with the most common being the skin. Plant fungicide also findsits way into the human body through the mouth, lungs and the eyes. Protective clothing should be always worn when handling fungicides. Studies have shown that people who expose themselves to fungicides without adequate protection lower their life expectancies by as much as 33%. If ingested through the mouth, anyplant fungicide is fatal and may cause death in a very short time.
Sulphur is a common ingredient in any plant fungicide making them dangerous to humans and animals. Although sulphur on its own is not toxic it may be washes away in rainwater or even combine chemically with other elements. Sulphur containing compounds are known to cause some undesirable effects including heart, liver and kidney damage.
Azole Plant fungicide are very common. Azole is useful in the treatment of breast tumors in women when administered in very low doses. Azole contained in plant fungicide which contains higher dosages affects the reproductive organs in humans. It may lower fertility and affect the development of foetuses.
Plant fungicide such as ziram and ferbam are known to cause chronic skin ailments if they come into contact with the skin. They may also cause blurred vision if exposed to the eyes. If taken in through the lungs, they may induce respiratory failure caused by pulmonary edema which causes fluids to accumulatein the lungs. The lungs will then be unable to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen due to blockages caused by the accumulated fluids.
Plant fungicide may contain mercury and cadmium. These affect the nervous system. Poisoning or long term exposure to plant fungicide containing these two compounds are known to cause nervous disorders, cases of people losing their ability to walk and even permanent disability . Cases of mental disorders have also been attributed to these compounds.
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Captafol, a common plant fungicide was recently banned from major states in the world due to adverse long term effects on humans .the fungicide was found to be a major cause of cancer particularly in parts of the body directly exposed to it. Skin, throat and lung cancers were common among people who handled it.
More common plant fungicide like chloroneb,dicloran and chlorothalonil mainly absorbed through the skin cause skin and mucus membrane irritations.
Heaxachlorobenzene another common plant fungicide was found to cause toxic paorphyria a condition which in turn causes red-coloured urine, hair overgrowth, and liver enlargement. Higher doses of this cause arthritis, abnormal liver growth and wastage of bones.