You have probably heard about the so-called phytosanitary products, but without knowing what exactly it is. Well, if we talk about pesticides, surely you already have a better idea of what they are. There are many different types that are included in this group. To get you out of doubt, we will explain in this article what are phytosanitary products and how are they classified.
In addition, so that you can better understand these chemical substances, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of their use and why it is important to use ecological and sustainable alternatives. If you want to know more about this topic, I recommend that you continue reading.
What are plant protection products and what are they used for?
When we talk about plant protection products, we refer to mixtures or substances through which we can combat, prevent, destroy, avoid, attract or repel any type of pest or disease. Basically they are products with which we can end various forms of both plant and animal life. They are generally used against living beings that are harmful to agriculture and public health.
In the case of agriculture, phytosanitary products are used as pesticides, that is: To eliminate various pests that can affect crops. These are usually applied during the storage, production, processing, transportation and distribution of both agricultural products and their derivatives. Thus, some examples for this type of substance would be insecticides, fungicides and herbicides, among many others. Later we will comment on how phytosanitary products are classified.
Among these types of mixtures so-called “useful poisons” are also included. These would be, for example, adjuvants, desiccants, defoliants and phytoregulators or substances that regulate plant growth. However, medicines for both human and veterinary use and biological control products are excluded from this classification.
It should be said that Phytosanitary products must always be handled with great care, After all, these are toxic substances, also for us. When applying them to crops, it is extremely important to respect waiting times and doses to avoid health hazards for the worker, for consumers and for the crop itself.
Advantages and disadvantages
Now that we know what plant protection products are, let’s see what their advantages and disadvantages are. Let’s start with the positives: These substances help to considerably increase the yield of the land. Without this little help, it would not have been possible to reach the levels of food production that we have today. The use of these products is at the base of what is called the Green Revolution and has been around since about the middle of the XNUMXth century. This is the name given to the significant increase in agricultural productivity, that is, food.
In addition, phytosanitary substances improve product marketing because they make it possible to delay its deterioration, thus lengthening its storage and facilitating transport over long distances. They also improve the physical appearance of vegetables and lower their price.
How to use phytosanitary products
However, not all benefits. There are several negative consequences that the use of phytosanitary products brings. A Below we will list the major drawbacks of these pesticides:
- They reduce biodiversity.
- They pollute the soil and water.
- Misuse by workers can endanger their own health and also that of consumers through food poisoning.
Since the disadvantages of these products are quite important, the most advisable thing is to use ecological, natural and biological alternatives. These options are more environmentally friendly and can be used for crop control at the farm level. Thus, organic farming is a good sustainable alternative to the use of chemical pesticides. It has already been scientifically proven that they are less harmful to the environment and also to public health.
How are plant protection products classified?
When classifying plant protection products, we can do it in different ways. The most common classifications are according to the chemical group of which they are a part, according to their specific action or according to the toxicological properties they possess. Below we will list these three groups with some examples.
First of all we have the classification by chemical groups. This group is fundamental, since everything related to occupational hygiene and toxicology is usually quite similar for pesticides that are part of the same group. Let’s look at some examples:
- Chlorine or nitrophenols
- Chlorophenoxy acids
- Others: There are many more chemical families that have some representatives that They are often used as pesticides. Among them are inorganic substances, substituted ureas, halogenated hydrocarbons, dinitroanilines, phthalimides, diazines, etc.
We can also classify phytosanitary according to their toxicological properties. This type of information must be present both on the product label and on the safety data sheet. According to Annex I of Regulation CE 1272/2008 (CLP), the health hazards according to which they can be grouped are the following:
- Serious eye irritation or injury
- skin irritation or corrosion
- Germ cell mutagenicity
- Aspiration hazard
- Skin or respiratory sensitization
- acute toxicity
- Reproductive toxicity
Finally we have to highlight the classification of phytosanitary products according to their specific action. There are many groups for this category and some of the products may have various pesticidal activities. These would be some examples:
- Acaricides: They eliminate mites.
- Bactericides and antibiotics: To fight bacteria.
- Defoliant: It is used to loosen leaves.
- fungicides: They are used to combat fungi.
- Herbicide: Eliminate weeds.
- Insecticides: They eliminate insects.
- Molluscicides: They eliminate molluscs.
- Growth regulator: It helps retard or stimulate the growth of both plants and insects.
- Rodenticides: They kill rodents.
I hope that with all this information it has become clear to you what medical devices are. Although it is true that initially they were necessary to be able to generate enough food for the entire world population, today there are ecological solutions to replace these chemical substances and promote greater environmental sustainability.