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Opinion: The dangers of pesticides on campus

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A pesticide is a toxic chemical that is used to protect plants. Pesticides kill bugs, weeds, and other unwanted pests. At Pierce College, those who tend to the plants around campus use pesticides for the same reason.

However, students who come within close proximity of these pesticides might experience side effects such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, and sometimes systemic poisoning.

Over time, it is even possible that one can develop several different kinds of cancer due to pesticide exposure. These cancers range from lymphoma, breast, and ovarian cancer, just to name a few.

A study conducted by the University of Iowa in 2014 stated that about 500,000 men and women get cancer from being exposed to chemicals, such as pesticides, and the number is increasing. The study also stated that children who are exposed to pesticides at a young age are four times more likely to get cancer during their lifetime.

This is why those who tend to plants should be cautious spraying pesticides, especially around the Child Development Center and the Child Development offices at Pierce. One idea is to spray pesticides at night. Spraying pesticides at night would reduce exposure during the day, when the campus is populated.

Not only is it harmful to human health, but pesticides can also harm the environment. The toxins released by pesticides can become airborne, adding to the likelihood that pesticides may pollute.

Pesticides can even harm the plants themselves, and the soil they are planted in. Because pesticides are absorbed through the roots of the the plant, it can weaken its roots and immune system, as well as deplete nutrients plants obtain from the soil.

For these reasons the maintenance services at Pierce might consider other methods of protecting plant life.

There is no information listed in the Pierce College Strategic Master Plan regarding pesticides.

Pierce College should take the issue of pesticides seriously. There may be a risk to students who can fall ill due to exposure and get cancer in the long run.

Some colleges, such as LA Southwest College, one of the nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), have formed committees that monitor pesticides or the use of other chemicals on plants.

The LA Southwest College Master Plan looks at the individual plants on their campus to determine how they can reduce the use of pesticides by meeting the specific needs for different plants.

Pierce can follow the examples of other community colleges and colleges across the country. Many colleges are reducing their use of pesticides. They are also forming committees so they can closely monitor the use of pesticides where need be.