How Pesticides are Polluting Waterways and Negatively Impacting the Ecosystem in Florida

Poisonous Pesticide and Herbicide Pollution

Florida has a lot of bugs, and some are enormous. Insects are a part of the ecosystem that is consumed by many animals, including bats, small reptiles, birds, and rodents. By eliminating insects, you may be throwing off the balance of the ecosystem. Pesticides make your lawns toxic, attract bad bugs, and pose a danger to pets and children. Some of these chemicals are linked to cancer and nervous system disruptions.

Pesticides are very toxic to bats and birds who eat the bugs. Many pesticides do not dissolve when it rains and washes into our waterways. The drainage of chemicals can affect our fish and frogs. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) uses aquatic herbicides for invasive species management. They use chemicals like Glyphosate, which has known adverse effects. According to FWC data, 12,263 pounds of herbicides were used on Lake Okeechobee in 2017. Many fishermen on the lake report deformed fish with tumors and burn marks, and scientists found that frogs have reproductive abnormalities.

Florida's fourth-largest lake, Lake Apopka, is one of the state's most polluted lakes. Pesticides heavily sprayed farmland, and agricultural workers were exposed to pesticides through aerial spraying, inhalation, and touching plants still wet with poison. There are clusters of illnesses in the area, and it had one of the worst bird deaths in United States history. This former agricultural land used DDT and chemicals regularly.

Mounting evidence of pesticide environmental and toxic effects began in 1970 with DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane). DDT is classified as a probable human carcinogen and is known to be very persistent in the environment. Pesticides pollute water supplies, cause disease, contaminate food, kill pollinators, and threaten the health of our pets. 

There are different solutions to these growing issues, like limiting pollution at its source, better laws to protect the environment, and establishing limits on pollution that protect health. We can also take action through our personal choices by looking for non-toxic solutions. Visit to learn more!

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Stel Bailey

Stel Bailey, a cancer cluster survivor and environmental health advocate, is a researcher and journalist with more than two decades of multimedia experience, having been published globally.

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