Pesticides and the environment
Once a pesticide is introduced into the environment, whether through an application, a disposal or a spill, it is influenced by many processes. These processes determine a pesticide's persistence and movement, if any, and its ultimate fate. The fate processes can be beneficial. They can move a pesticide to the target area or destroy its potentially harmful residues. Sometimes they can be detrimental, leading to reduced control of a target pest, injury of nontarget plants and animals, and environmental damage. Of particular concern today is the movement of pesticides into groundwater. Different soil and climatic factors and different handling practices can promote or prevent each process. An understanding of the fate processes can help every pesticide applicator ensure that applications are not only effective, but are also environmentally safe.
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