A pesticide is defined as a chemical manufactured to repel, prevent, or stop the growth of certain living organisms via impairing certain biological processes necessary for their existence. They are mostly sprayed in the crops like cotton which is used to make textiles. Cotton which is planted in a very small portion of the land about 2.4% of the whole land is the largest market for pesticides and takes about 25% of the use of the total pesticide. These pesticides that are used in cotton farms are very hazardous to such an extent that the World Health Organization classifies them as toxic.
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There has been an argument on whether those people who sell Germany’s clothing are at risk of being poisoned or not. In this paper, I am going to give examples of those toxic textile pesticides, their effects on human health and the environment, symptoms of pesticides poisoning, and measures that can be taken to reduce these effects of pesticides. In each assignment topic, I will show how ethical theory and information relate to the assignment.
Type of toxic textile pesticides
There are four main toxic textile pesticides. These are Aldicard which is a nerve agent that is very powerful and when absorbed in the skin can kill an adult. Secondly, there is Endosulfan which is very poisonous. And thirdly we have monocrotophos that was found to cause paralysis in children living near cotton-growing farms. Findings of a medical analysis conducted in South Africa on human breast milk revealed traces of Deltamethrin. The dilemma here is whether to use these pesticides and if yes which one to use.
According to Ridley,(1998, para.11), based on Deontology ethical theory that is mainly concerned with the obligation and duties of an individual, a deontologist will go on applying the pesticides without taking note of the effects it is going to have on individuals living near this farms. However, using the utilitarian ethical theory that is based on the consequences of the action, a person decides on whether to use the pesticides, basing his answer on the benefits that the pesticides will have on the majority of the people. He/she may opt to use the less harmful pesticide. For example, he may use monocrotophos in fields where children will not have access to the fields.
Effects of pesticides on human health and environment
There has been an argument on whether pesticides use on textiles has any negative effects on the workers working in the cotton farms or those selling the textiles and whether textiles are contaminated. After reading different texts and watching the video on toxic textile pesticides, I came across many negative effects of pesticides on human health and the environment. To start with, pesticides cause poisoning. It has been found that every year, 1 to 5 million poisonings are a result of pesticide use leading to about 20000 deaths while others are hospitalized (Vettorazzi, 1979, para.13). The dilemma here is whether to use pesticides or teach people about their negative effects. Using deontology ethical theory one may decide to continue using pesticides as its function is to kill pests.
The other effect of pesticide use in textile is that can cause paralysis in children and also cancer in both children and adults. Environmentally, textiles come mainly from cotton, and when farmers till their land, the soils that contain the pesticides are exposed to the sun and as a result release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which causes global warming (Dan, 2007, para.8).
Symptoms of pesticides poisoning
As discussed above pesticides causes poisoning which leads to death. Some symptoms can show that one has been poisoned by pesticides. Some of these symptoms are; headache, vomiting, breathing difficulties, and respiratory diseases among others. Pesticides poisoning effects on human beings include;
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Impaired memory and lack of concentration
The dilemma here is whether it is necessarily a must that if a person shows any of the above signs he or she has been poisoned by pesticides. Our moral obligation in this instance is not to find out which is the cause of poisoning but to treat the individual (Lehman &Pimentel, 1993, p.377).
Measures that can be taken to reduce these effects of pesticides on human health
As discussed above pesticides use in textiles poses health risks to individuals. For example, in a video clip, a person was found paralyzed as a result of poisoning (Video Clip, n.d). As a result, we must remove the pesticides that may be present in the textiles. According to Lambert, et al, (1979, para.8), in removing these pesticides one can use activated carbon. Another way that one can reduce the effects of pesticides is to teach people about their effects and the best methods of applying them. Moreover, since the highest percentage of pesticides is in cotton which is the raw material for textiles, one can use other raw materials for textiles. For instance, one can opt to use Moso bamboo instead of cotton as it is grown without the use of pesticides and grow fast in diverse climates, and is harvested without damaging the environment. Additionally, when it is harvested it produces shoots thus the soil is not exposed unlike cotton thus reducing the chances of global warming(Dan,2007, para.7). The dilemma here is in deciding which raw materials of textile one are going to use.
Textile pesticides are harmful to human beings as they cause health risks. However; they are used to kill pests which lower the production of cotton. It is therefore important to make a decision wisely on whether to use the pesticides or not depending on whether it is going to benefit most of the majority of cause harms based on deontology and utilitarian ethical theory.
Charles, D. (2007).IOWA Farmers look to Trap Carbon in Soil.
Lamberd.S.D, Graham.N.J.G, Solollas C.J &Fowler G.D. (1997).Evaluation of inorganic Adsorbent for the removal of problematic textiles dyes and pesticides. London: Elsevier
Lehman, R. & Pimentel, D. (1993).Values, ethics and the use of synthetic pesticides in Agriculture.US.Springers US.
Ridley, A. (1998).Beginning Bioethics. New York: St Martin Press.
Vettorazzi, G. (1979).International regulatory aspects for pesticides chemicals. New York: CRC Press Inc.
Video Clip. (n.d) Textile pesticides.