THIRD WORLD NETWORK INFORMATION SERVICE ON SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
Dear Friends and Colleagues
The use of synthetic chemical pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc.) in agriculture around the world began in the 1950s with the onset of industrial agriculture through the ‘Green Revolution’. Since then, industrial agriculture has come to rely increasingly on the use of these chemicals, many of which have become extremely pervasive and persistent in the environment as a result of their widespread repeated use. Pesticideshave been found in every habitat on earth and are routinely detected in both marine and terrestrial mammals.
A report by Greenpeace examines the growing body of research relating to known and suspected human health effects of pesticides, given that the general population is exposed to a cocktail of pesticides daily through food and polluted air, water and soil. Among the many active ingredients that are potentially dangerous to health are the currently approved organophosphates, chlorpyrifos and malathion. Some groups of people are particularly exposed/vulnerable such as farmers and pesticide applicators, young children and fetuses in the womb. The report cites compelling evidence showing correlations between pesticide exposure and incidences of childhood leukemia, several types of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and endocrine and immune system disruptions along with transgenerational effects.
The report calls for an urgent paradigm shift from industrial agriculture with its heavy reliance on chemical additives towards the full implementation of ecological farming as the only means of feeding the world healthy and safe food and protecting the ecosystems we live in. With this, it underscores the necessity of a phase-out of synthetic chemical pesticides, through legally binding national and international agreements and targets.
With best wishes,
PESTICIDES AND OUR HEALTH - A GROWING CONCERN
Since 1950, the human population has doubled, yet the area of arable land used to feed these people has increased by only 10%. There are huge pressures to provide food, at low cost, on land that is becoming more and more degraded as nutrients are stripped from the soil. Reliance on external inputs – fertilisers and pesticides – continues to be the short-term solution for large-scale commercially intensive agricultural systems.
Synthetic pesticides have been widely used in industrial agriculture throughout the world since the 1950s. Over time, many of these chemicals have become extremely pervasive in our environment as a result of their widespread repeated use and, in some cases, their environmental persistence. Some take an extremely long time to degrade, such that even those banned decades ago, including DDT and its secondary products, are routinely found in the environment today.
As a consequence of this persistence, and potential hazards to wildlife, effect-related research on the impact of pesticides has increased exponentially over the past 30 years (Köhler and Triebskorn 2013). It is now clear that these effects are wide and varied. Over the same period, scientific understanding of the effects of pesticides on human health and their mechanisms of action has also expanded rapidly, with studies revealing statistical associations between pesticide exposure and enhanced risks of developmental impairments, neurological and immune disorders and some cancers.
Nevertheless, proving definitively that exposure to a particular pesticide causes a disease or other condition in humans presents a considerable challenge. There are no groups in the human population that are completely unexposed to pesticides, and most diseases are multi-causal giving considerable complexity to public health assessments (Meyer-Baron et al. 2015). Furthermore, most people are exposed to complex and ever changing mixtures of chemicals, not just pesticides, in their daily lives, through multiple routes of exposure. Pesticides contribute further to this toxic burden.
Etiquetas: en, Third World Network