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We are debating about the merits of pesticides. The effectiveness of pesticides is an easier argument. Pesticides are chemical or biological agents that are applied to crops to help kill and ward off insects, disease, and weeds. In the absence of these pests, crops can grow more fully and effectively and the harvest yield can be increased. In other words, less of the crops will be lost to pests. One estimate shows that for every one dollar spend on pesticides, four dollars worth of crops are saved.
The environmental impact is harder to justify. These chemicals can affect animal habitats. And some of the chemical pesticides can bioaccumulate in people and animals, meaning that they are effectively permanently stored in a body once ingested. The biggest problem here is runoff, or the seeping of excess pesticides into areas outside of crop growing. The best argument for the environmental safety of the pesticides is that if properly applied in lesser amounts, the pesticides are more likely to remain contained to their target area.
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