When you walk into your local grocery store, the colorful produce section usually welcomes you. Deep red tomatoes, vivid green peppers and bright yellow bananas await your cart. And it doesn't matter what season it is. Now, year-round you can find a variety of produce that used to be considered seasonal. You have pesticides, among other factors, to thank for this abundance of choice.
Most of our food comes from farms and lands that use pesticides. Pesticides keep insects, such as flies that might be spreading harmful diseases, off of our dinner tables [source: Cooper]. Their use saves the producer money that he would otherwise have to spend on costly equipment and fuel, allowing him to sell his produce at lower prices.
Specifically, pesticides control insects like ticks or mosquitoes, which may be spreading harmful diseases like yellow fever or malaria. Pesticide use can also help maintain healthy ecosystem balances by limiting the spread of invasive exotic species [source: Delaplace].
There are huge risks associated with the improper use of pesticides, as they are a poison that affects humans. But when used as directed, the benefits can outweigh the risks. Some of the less obvious benefits include less greenhouse gas, reduced fuel use by producers and improved shelf life, on top of the decrease in disease and suffering recognized in both humans and animals [source: Cooper].
There are definite steps you can take to use pesticides as safely as possible. Read ahead to find out how.