Do pesticides really last in the environment as long as they say? And if so, are they harmful?

A pesticide is any substance used to kill, repel, or control certain forms of plant or animal life that are considered to be pests.

According to the EPA, agricultural workers report between 1,800 and 3,000 incidents involving pesticide exposure each year. Farmworker advocates say the effects of pesticide exposure vary. Some workers suffer acute problems such as skin irritation, headaches and vomiting, while continuing, low-level exposure may contribute to chronic illnesses such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease, they say.

In a recent study, 99% of Americans tested positive for a breakdown product of DDT, even though DDT hasn’t been used in the U.S. since 1972.  40 years later DDT is still a topic of conversation. And, women who were exposed to DDT as girls are 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer even though it was not supposed to be harmful to humans.