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The History of Pesticides

Pesticides have a long history within agriculture. Pests have been a problem since the beginning of farming, meaning that farmers have been seeking solutions for a very long time. At first, pesticides were relatively simple, for example, the Romans used an olive pit oil to kill pests in their fields. In alignment with the industrial revolution, pesticides moved away from being traditional to being developed in labs. By the 1900s, pesticides made the final shift from natural to synthetic and their popularity boomed by the 1940s. The discovery of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) made this pesticide the most popular due to its price, non-toxicity to animals, and power to reduce diseases that originate in insects. At the time, the concern for the health risks that might be caused by pesticides were not considered because of the positive benefits that they had. It was later discovered that many of the pesticides used were unhealthy to human beings, and many were banned in the US by the year 2000. Due to the wide use of pesticides, there are also many pests who are now resistant to the products, causing even more problems for farmers. Today, a person can often choose whether they consume pesticides or not, as there are more and more pesticide-free options emerging. Pesticides have had both incredibly helpful and dangerous effects on the agriculture industry, and constant innovation in the sector continues to improve practices to make food the healthiest and safest it can be!