Research by Susana Loureiro from the Department of Biology and the Centre for Environmental an Marine Studies
University of Aveiro informs: pesticide cocktails are harmful to the health of soils
A investigadora Susana Loureiro e uma amostra de solo onde o efeito dos pesticidas são analisados
Used in the fight against pests, the pesticide cocktails used in agriculture are causing harmful effects on organisms that regenerate the terrestrial ecosystem, hence undermining the health of national soil. This is the main conclusion of a work performed by a team of biologists of the University of Aveiro (UA) who examined the effects of mixtures of pesticides used on a large scale, not only in Portugal but throughout Europe, in organisms which are not the aimed target but end up enduring damages due to the chemical action. Without them, and consequently without the crucial role in organic matter decomposition and redistribution of nutrients, agricultural soils cannot stay healthy.

Researchers point their fingers at a legislation which regulates solely the individual use of each chemical while ignoring pesticide mixes, a standard practice in the agricultural sector that potentiates the toxic effect of the compounds used.

“We have tested several types of pesticides applied widely across our country and Europe and found that they produce much more harmful effects than it would be expected." states Susana Loureiro, researcher in the Department of Biology and the Center for Environmental and Marine Studies- CESAM, who adds- “The use of dangerous and unpredictable chemical cocktails in agricultural soils has been going on for decades, once the legislation both in Portugal and in Europe does not regard groups of pesticides. In a common agricultural practice, we have the employment of insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and molluscicides, either simultaneous or staggered in time, which can induce addiction of effects or potentiation of toxicity. In these cases the legislation is silent.”

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