Impact of Pesticides
The term pesticide covers a wide range of compounds including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, molluscicides, nematicides, plant growth regulators, and others.
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Pesticides may become airborne, get into soil, enter bodies of water, or be taken up by plants and animals. The environmental fate of pesticides depends on the physical and chemical properties of the pesticide as well as the environmental conditions. The physical and chemical properties of the pesticide determine how likely it is to travel through soil (soil mobility), how well it dissolves in water (water solubility), and how likely it is to become airborne (volatility).
Once a pesticide has been released into the environment, it can be broken down by:
- exposure to sunlight (photolysis)
- exposure to water (hydrolysis)
- exposure to other chemicals (oxidation and reduction)
- microbial activity (bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms)
- plants or animals (metabolism)