Toxic pesticides represent a great threat to human health and the environment. The United Nations reports that the quantity and range of new and existing chemicals, including toxic pesticides, is growing rapidly in developing countries and is compromising human health and the enviroment.
Pesticides contaminate ecosystems and kill beneficial organisms or severely impair their health. Over 95% of applied pesticides miss their target species, reaching nearby people, wildlife, waterways, soil, and air. Endosulfan aerial spraying in Kasargod, India contaminated soil and water, which led to severe health impacts on people in the community.
Pesticides are a major threat to bees. The global decline of the bee population has been linked to pesticides, through poisoning, which has brought a direct loss of livelihood to beekeepers. In Kasargod, India the honeybees were affected and almost wiped out by the spraying of endosulfan. The decline of bees, first noticed in Europe and the United States is now seen in China and Japan. Mass death of bees at a global level poses a threat to food security because it directly affects crop pollination and endangers the livelihood of millions of farmers.
Genetically engineered crops has increased pesticide use, particularly of herbicides, that in addition to contaminating soil and water, has caused a proliferation of weeds resistant to the herbicides intended to kill them.