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Posts Tagged ‘agrochemical’

Monsanto’s Pesticides Causing Cancer, Birth Defects in Argentina

Posted by feww on October 24, 2013

Pesticides sold by Monsanto poisoning Argentina: AP

The Associated Press (AP) has documented dozens of cases around Argentina where widespread misuse of Monsanto’s products are causing major health problems.

Toxic pesticides were sprayed close to populated areas and close to the water supply; farmers mix and apply poisons without protective clothing; villagers store water in pesticide containers.

In Santa Fe Province [population: 3.2 million, 3rd most populated province,] Argentina’s number one producer of cereals, toxic chemicals were used about 30 meters from homes, instead of the mandatory 500 meters, according to the AP report.

Unsurprisingly, cancer rates in the province are up to four times higher than the national average. In the neighboring Chaco province [population 1.2 million,]  birth defects quadrupled since the mid 1990s when Monsanto convinced the Argentines that  its patented seeds and agrochemicals would sharply increase crop yields and lower pesticide use, thus dramatically transforming farming in Argentina.

Health authorities are now warning that growing health problems among nearly a third of the country’s 41 million population may be due to uncontrolled use of pesticides.

Today, all of Argentina’s soy crop and most of its corn and cotton are genetically modified.

“The change in how agriculture is produced has brought, frankly, a change in the profile of diseases,” says Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez, a pediatrician and neonatologist who co-founded Doctors of Fumigated Towns, part of a growing movement demanding enforcement of agricultural safety rules. “We’ve gone from a pretty healthy population to one with a high rate of cancer, birth defects, and illnesses seldom seen before.”

Farmers in Argentina use about 320 million liters of agrochemicals last year, applying about 5 kg of pesticide per hectare (4.3lbs. per acres), or more than twice the amount used in the U.S., to boost production, as pests become ever more resistant to the poisons.

“As we’ve also learned in the United States, herbicide-resistant GE crops lead to dramatically increased pesticide use. And as weeds develop resistance to these chemicals, industry rolls out even more hazardous chemicals to battle the superweeds. Farmers get trapped on the pesticide treadmill.” Pesticide Action Network International told AP.

Notes:

  1. Total agricultural land in Argentina is 1,333,500km², or 48.0 % of the area.
  2. Argentina’s soy planting area is a projected at 20.65 million hectares for the current 2013/14 season, with corn at 5.7 million hectares, and wheat 3.4 million hectares.

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