I need ideas to determine what is a good opening argument that pesticides are effectice and safe to the environment?

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first thing to do in argumentative essays such as this one is to properly describe the subject at hand, and provide sources to justify your posture.

In this case, define what are pesticides and where your definition comes from. The best source is the US EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency. According to their site, a pesticide is defined as

...any substance or mixture of substances intended for:

  • preventing,
  • destroying,
  • repelling, or
  • mitigating any pest.

They go further into the identification of what is a "pest". This is where your point of argument can sprout out, because a pest can include microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria and prions, which are infection agents. It is universally known that the human body lives in a continual battle against the sudden attack of these microorganisms. Imagine having them fester around in our food and triple their number right as we consume them! Moreover, what about all the small insects and other flying animals that prey on crops, or even stand on them spreading even more infectious agents.

Moreover, bacteria, fungi and other invasive pests could potentially destroy the hard work of many farmers whose very survival depends on the selling and trading of important crops such as corn, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, eggplant, cucumbers and peppers.

Looking into recent events, as recently as 2008 the CDC reported that over 1,400 people were infected with salmonella after being exposed to tomatoes, jalapeños, and Serrano peppers imported from Mexico. Since Mexican farmers do not have to comply with the same regulations imposed by the EPA, pesticides are often optional or not regulated as closely. When the vegetables were tested, there was more trace of exposure to Mexican water (which was used to wash the vegetables) as the culprit of infection than of any pesticide affecting the crops. In fact,perhaps if there had been a pesticide around these 1,400 people could have been spared a debilitating illness that costs our government more money in medical care for those who do not have insurance.

Therefore, pesticides are important for the environment, however, it is ultimately the responsibility of the consumer to properly wash both their hands and their produce prior to consuming it.