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Pesticides are substances meant for preventing, destroying or mitigating any pest. They are a class of biocide. The most common use of pesticides is as plant protection products, which in general protect plants from damaging influences such as weeds, diseases or insects. This use of pesticides is so common that the term pesticide is often treated as synonymous with plant protection product, although it is in fact a broader term, as pesticides are also used for non-agricultural purposes. A pesticide is generally a chemical or biological agent that through its effect deters, incapacitates, kills or otherwise discourages pests. Target pests can include insects, plant pathogens, weeds, mollusks, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes, and microbes that destroy property, cause nuisance, spread disease or are vectors for disease. Although there are benefits to the use of pesticides, some also have drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to humans and other animals. According to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 9 of the 12 most dangerous and persistent organic chemicals are pesticides. (via Freebase)