Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Pesticides in the environment

We usually think of pesticides in agriculture when talking about pesticides, but pesticides are a diverse group of toxins, which are used in other contexts to prevent various undesirable effects from pests. Agricultural activities accounts for most of the pesticide consumption for weed and pest control, but pesticides are used in many different situations in our everyday lives, ranging from the control of mice and rats in houses to bacteria and mold in paints.

The two main groups of pesticides are  herbicides, which are weed killers, and biocides designed to kill living organisms.

  • Biocides can further be divided according to their mode of action. Examples are:
  • Rodenticide (rodent poison, "rat poison")
  • Fungicide (mold and fungi)
  • Insecticide (Against insects)
  • Bactericide (Against bacteria)
  • Nematicide (roundworm poison)
  • Acaricide (Against mites)

Due to the wide variety of purposes and thus chemical effects, the dispersion and load / effects in the environment of pesticides are very divergent. It also means that the pollution challenges vary with the type and use of the pesticide.

The Department of Environmental Science perform research concerning pesticides under a socially relevant theme, including consumption, dispersal, degradation, fate and secondary (non-intended) poisonings.