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Video: History Of Pesticides
How to protect plants from pests, diseases and weeds. Part 1
The article offered to the readers' attention is the first in a series of publications on plant protection with the help of various drugs (chemical, biological, plant), on the mechanism of their action, on government measures to protect humans and the environment, on safety when working with pesticides (pesticides). The aim of this series is to show that herbal or microbiological preparations are not as safe as many think, and chemical preparations are not much more dangerous. I would also like to draw attention to the need for mandatory compliance with safety measures when using any of these three groups of connections.
As the next growing season approaches, every gardener, horticulturist or farmer thinks about the upcoming inevitable "encounters" with insect pests and diseases of fruit and berry and garden crops that will have to be protected, recalls weeds and rodents, which will have to be actively combated.
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Man, probably, faced the problem of protecting plants from these enemies immediately, as soon as he began to cultivate the soil. There are no corners on Earth where voracious insect pests and aggressive pathogens would live in harmony with humans. Experts have determined relatively accurately: one third of agricultural products around the world die from pests and diseases before harvesting, the other third - during storage.
History knows many terrible outbreaks of diseases (epiphytoties) and invasions of insects - pests and rodents (epizootics), which seriously affected the development of countries and even continents. As a classic example, we can recall the epiphytosis of potato late blight in Western Europe (1845-1847), which led to huge crop losses and the death of many hundreds of thousands of people. In Ireland alone, about 1 million people died from hunger and its consequences, and the same number were forced to emigrate to America. In various provinces of pre-revolutionary Russia for half a century (1800-1850), 44 lean years and 35 pest infestations were registered. Even now, there are frequent reports of advances in certain regions of the world, for example, swarms of locusts, huge in volume and weight.
The first attempts to protect agricultural plants from harmful organisms, in particular diseases, are known from the works of Homer: "… diseases are averted by the purifying evaporation of sulfur." Later, they tried to use animal waste products, various salts, oils for plant protection. To increase their effectiveness, these funds were even mixed in various proportions.
The 18th century is considered the beginning of an active, targeted search for methods and means of plant protection. And in 1882, Pierre Alexis Millarde proposed Bordeaux liquid (a mixture of copper sulfate with lime) to protect the vine from a harmful disease (downy powdery or mildew). Until now, this contact drug has not lost its popularity and relevance, therefore it is widely used against a large number of fungal and some bacterial diseases of many crops. But burgundy liquid, which seems to differ little from Bordeaux (copper sulfate + soda ash), "went out of the way", as doctors found it unsuitable for use in agricultural production.
It is believed that the so-called "green revolution", which resulted in a significant increase in crop yields in most countries of the world, was largely due not only to the production of new varieties, but also to the intensive use of pesticides, without which the cultivation of such varieties would be ineffective. On the other hand, there are no pesticides that are safe for humans and the environment.
On the long journey of creating effective plant protection products, there have been great successes, and there have been serious failures. Earlier, when creating a chemical product, the main task was its high efficiency in the fight against harmful objects, while its negative impact on the environment and humans was often revealed only in the process of application, the main criterion then was often momentary benefit. With the use of a chemical, information about it was accumulated, including its negative effects on mammals and the environment. The most dangerous pesticides (toxic, persistent, mobile) managed to cause significant damage to human health, nature, and only then were excluded from the "State catalog of pesticides approved for use."
This story is associated with one of the first organochlorine drugs - the notorious insecticide DDT (by the way, its inventor was given the Nobel Prize). It possessed high toxicity, persistence and the ability to accumulate in the body: the drug was found in many drinking wells, even in ice and in Antarctic penguins. But it took half a century of its use all over the world to finally understand that a plant protection product must first be comprehensively and reliably studied, and then applied.
Gone are the pesticides widely used in their time for plant protection, containing mercury and arsenic, which, in terms of toxicity for warm-blooded animals, of course, now we classify as toxic substances.
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Over the past two decades, the approach to pesticide registration has changed significantly. Now they are trying to take into account the compliance of the pesticide with the criteria of minimum environmental hazard: low effective dosage of the pesticide, rapid decomposition in the soil to non-toxic compounds, no migration to groundwater, surface waters and the atmosphere, low toxicity for soil microorganisms, earthworms, birds, beneficial insects, aquatic flora and fauna.
When creating and registering a new drug in various countries, it undergoes rigorous testing of laboratory, field tests and expert assessments, taking into account the requirements of the developed modern international system. But in the Russian Federation, the law on pesticides, regulating their registration, use and distribution, was adopted, unfortunately, only in 1997 (in the USA - in 1947: "The Federal Insecticide and Rodenticide Act"). The first part concerns the behavior of the active substance in the environment (soil, water and air), the second - ecotoxicology (the toxicity of the pesticide for living objects of the natural environment, with the exception of humans). These requirements take into account the specific conditions of Russia, since no country in the world has a wide variety of soils like ours, differing in genesis, humus content, acidity,directions of use and other signs.
Having received positive results in all the most important indicators for a number of years, the drug can be used (and strictly for the intended purpose in relation to both the culture and the harmful object).
In our country, the "List (reference book) of pesticides and agrochemicals permitted for use on the territory of the Russian Federation" (as a rule, an addition to the monthly magazine "Plant Protection and Quarantine") is reissued annually. Every gardener, gardener or farmer can order it by mail. Some drugs are removed from the "List …", others are added, or for already registered drugs the range of other plants and harmful objects is expanded, for still others the period of use is extended (only for a year) due to additional studies underway in them, more often due to the absence of more optimal (safe) analogue substitute.
The "List …" also provides information about the drugs allowed for use in private households, their active ingredients and many other useful information. As a rule, every store selling this assortment of goods must have such a directory, and any trader in a small retail chain must have one.