The harmful short- and long-term effects of application of agrochemicals on human health have been proven. Several pesticides have been shown to produce complex chronic effects such as change in endocrine functions and immune systems (Woese et al. 1997; Soil Association Organic Standards 2001). Increased uterine weights, reduced pregnancy rates, decreased litter size, interference with development of the reproductive tract or related sexual behaviour are symptoms that are coupled with endocrine disruption (Lundegardh and Martensson 2003). In addition to the short-term direct effects of chemicals on the immune and the endocrine systems, application of several types of agrochemicals during the growing season, typical of conventional systems, will give accumulated and combined effects on living organisms in the ecosystems. Farmers and farm workers are at greatest risk, in particular in countries with less efficient enforcement of safety procedures. Prevention of serious exposure to pesticides represents an important step in avoiding chronic as well as acute disease (Reigart and Roberts 1999). Organic farming that avoids pesticide application helps to provide a 'healthier' agroecosystem by protecting non-target organisms against unintended exposure. In addition to farmers and other human users of the farmed landscape, these include beneficial insects, micro-organisms and insectivorous birds, mammals and reptiles.
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