Implications of pesticide usage in Nigeria
The occurrence of pesticides in our environment as a result of the indiscriminate or intentional use has resulted in its persistence in the environment, thereby affecting the ecosystems and non target organisms. Acute and chronic pesticide poisoning usually results from consumption of contaminated food, chemical accident in industries and occupational exposure in agriculture. About 15,000 metric tons of pesticides comprising about 135 pesticide chemicals are imported annually into the country. They are the major causes of cancer, cardiovascular disease, dermatitis, birth defects, morbidity, impaired immune function, neurobehavioral disorder and allergy sensitization reaction. In Nigeria, food test carried out on 217 different food items revealed the presence of DDT, Aldrin and Dieldrin to be above maximum allowable concentration level which ranged from 1.2-2160μg kg-1. The detection of these pesticides in soil, drinking water and other animals is of great interest. The failure to establish data-base from past incidents in order to avert future occurrences has posed a huge problem to the society at large. The need for epidemiological data collection from past exposure, development of less toxic pesticides and legal requirement regarding toxicological and ecological effect before the importation of pesticides into the country will further reduce the impact of toxic pesticides on human health in the country.
Key words: Pesticides, Environment, Health, Pollution, Nigeria.