Does the commonly used herbicide "2, 4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid" cause destruction of aquatic organisms, especially the Brown Planarian?

Essay by MichaelZhaoHigh School, 10th gradeA+, April 2004

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Each year in the United States of America over 69 percent of the available water is used for agriculture and 8 percent is used for domestic uses. Sewage, industrial waste and agricultural chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers are the main point of water pollution. In the year of 1995 the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) reported that 37 percent of our country's lakes and estuaries, and 36 percent of our country's rivers are too polluted for basic uses including fishing and swimming during all or part of the year. However taking into account that Earth's usable water resources is less than 3 percent of Earth's total water resources, this a humongous amount. Water is necessary for agricultural use such as growing crops, and giving livestock refreshment. In the seventies massive use of the pesticide DDT led to horrendous biological effects such as the destruction of entire ecosystems. As a result of the biological damage the U.S.

Federal Government outlawed the use of DDT. Since then, more pesticides and in particular herbicides have been developed. The manufactures of these herbicides claim that these herbicides have no environmental impact whatsoever. However doubts have been cast on these claims, anti-pesticide organizations claim that herbicides (2, 4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid in particular) cause NHL (Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) and other types of cancer. Because the active ingredient in many herbicides is 2, 4-D, the paper will mainly focus on this chemical.

Research for Herbicides

The definition of a herbicide is a substance that controls weeds in a crop without destroying that crop. They are sold under a variety of trade names with many active ingredients. Herbicides can be applied to plants at various stages of growth or directly to the soil, and affect plants at a cellular or tissue level. Some inhibit plant growth by targeting certain...