Human health effects of agrichemical use

Hum Pathol. 1993 Jun;24(6):571-6. doi: 10.1016/0046-8177(93)90234-8.


The use of pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers in agriculture has grown dramatically over the past 30 years. Currently, approximately 600 active pesticide ingredients are used, but adequate toxicologic data are available for only approximately 100 of these. Environmental exposure of humans to agrichemicals is common and results in both acute and chronic health effects, including acute and chronic neurotoxicity (insecticides, fungicides, fumigants), lung damage (paraquat), chemical burns (anhydrous ammonia), and infant methemoglobinemia (nitrate in groundwater). A variety of cancers also have been linked to exposure to various pesticides, particularly hematopoietic cancers. Immunologic abnormalities and adverse reproductive and developmental effects due to pesticides also have been reported. The health effects associated with pesticides do not appear to be restricted to only a few chemical classes. Therefore, enhanced efforts are needed to control or eliminate human exposures wherever possible. Research also is needed to better characterize and quantitate the adverse effects of agrichemicals on human health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced
  • Adult
  • Agrochemicals / adverse effects*
  • Agrochemicals / analysis
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / chemically induced
  • Pesticides / adverse effects
  • Pesticides / analysis
  • Rats
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects


  • Agrochemicals
  • Pesticides