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Most people are not aware of the thousands of pesticides and their formulations that are in use today, some of them in huge volumes and on huge acreages worldwide. They comprise acaricides, algicides, antifoulants, avicides, bactericides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, molluscicides, nematicides, piscicides, rodenticides, virucides, and the related plant and insect growth regulators; chemosterilants; bird, mammal and insect repellents, insect pheromones and other attractants. Product formulations may contain more than one active ingredient, as well as synergists, “safeners”, and other ingredients formerly known as “inerts”.

Our particular concern about pesticides is that they have been designed to disrupt biological systems, causing death to target organisms, such as insects or plants. Some actually work by acting on the hormone systems of insects and plants.  The problem is that the biochemistry of most living things is similar enough that humans, wildlife and plants can also be adversely affected by pesticides.

In the past, much of the human and wildlife health-related research on pesticides has dealt with more or less immediate toxicity at relatively high doses, or has been concerned only with the primary mode of action of a single active ingredient in the pesticide product. In recent years, these concerns have broadened to include other possible actions of the ingredients, and testing at exposure levels more relevant to what may be in the environment.

TEDX is following the literature that explores the adverse effects of pesticides, as well as the adverse health effects of their metabolites and formulations. Effects may happen at extremely low doses; they may affect multiple signaling systems that control function and development; they may be subtle, long-term and/or delayed; and through parental exposure they may even affect subsequent generations.

Click here to see our resources and links related to pesticides.

Glossary of Terms

Attractant – attracts an organism, such as an insect

Acaricide – used to kill mites

Active ingredient –in a pesticide, the ingredient that kills or controls the pest.

Algicide – used to kill algae

Antifoulant – used to prevent barnacles and other organisms from colonizing ship hulls, etc.

Avicide – used to kill birds

Bactericide – used to kill bacteria

Chemosterilant – causes reproductive sterility in an organism

Growth regulator – acts as a plant or insect hormone that regulates growth

Herbicide – used to kill plants

Inert – in pesticides, a chemical whose primary function is other than that of an active ingredient

Insecticide – used to kill insects

Fungicide – used to kill fungi and mold

Molluscicide – used to kill mollusks (snails, slugs, mussels, etc.)

Nematicide – used to kill nematode worms

Pediculicide – used to kill lice

Pheromone – signals other organisms of the same species and affects their behavior

Piscicide – used to kill fish

Repellent – repels an organism, such as an insect

Rodenticide – used to kill rodents (rats and mice, etc.)

Safener – reduces the effects of a pesticide on non-target organisms

Synergist – makes the active ingredient more effective than it would be by itself

Virucide – used to kill viruses


Click here to link to a more complete glossary of terms.