Agrochemicals in sericulture and silk industry, and their effects on the human health and environment

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Review Paper 04/08/2023
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Agrochemicals in sericulture and silk industry, and their effects on the human health and environment

J. Harishkumar, R. Ravi Kumara, MS. Santhosh, K. Ravikumara
J. Bio. Env. Sci.23( 2), 1-17, August 2023.
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Sericulture is a labour-intensive textile industry that involves growing food plants for silkworms, raising them, reeling their silk, and performing various post-cocoon operations, including twisting, dying, weaving, printing, and finishing. It employs a huge number of rural people; the majority are small and marginal farmers or work in the tiny and home sector, mostly in the hand reeling and hand weaving sections. Despite the fact that silk is of natural origin, the silk industry uses some health-hazardous substances at all stages from mulberry farming through silk fabric finishing. Pesticides, fungicides, nematicides, bactericides, and herbicides are the most common in mulberry cultivation. Similar to mulberry agrochemicals, the pre-cocoon industry employs a wide range of disinfectants and bed disinfectants to protect the silkworm crop against infections. And also, a separate class of agrochemicals is utilised in dyeing, printing, and washing because it improves the reeling process and silk quality. However, these compounds create respiratory issues and are carcinogenic to humans, as indicated by dermatitis, skin lesions, back aches, bronchial asthma, coughs, gastrointestinal pains, ulcers, throat infections, thinning nails, dry skin, and hand and eye burning. In addition to human concerns, persistent chemicals endanger the ecosystem and contribute to the overall chemicalization of aquatic and terrestrial environments. As a result, whenever possible, the discharge of toxic compounds into the natural environment should be reduced. Unfortunately, in developing countries like India, where large quantities of these chemicals are generated and dumped into the environment, they are not properly managed because little is known about their potential risks and benefits if properly managed. In this article, we intend to explore the major sources of sericulture agrochemicals, their potential risks, and how they can be properly managed.


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