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Pesticides and Health

Acute exposures

When humans come into contact with a significant amount of pesticides in a short period of time they may experience health symptoms that are obvious and immediately discernible. This is often referred to as an acute exposure.  Short-term (acute) health effects may include nausea, skin irritations, wheezing or shortness of breath, and stomach pain, among other transient health effects. Severe cases of pesticide exposure can even result in death.

Chronic exposures

There are also health concerns associated with chronic exposures-  repeated exposure to very low doses of pesticides over a longer period of time. There may be no immediate signs and symptoms that someone has been exposed to a low dose of pesticides, but such exposures may still be harmful to health.  Long-term (chronic) health effects from pesticide exposure include cancer, neurological impacts, adverse reproductive outcomes, declines in cognitive function, and other long-lasting health effects.  

More information on the health impacts of pesticides is available from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.