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Pesticides and Their Harmful Affects

There are many important issues in the world regarding the environment and it's affects on the

average person. Though, the one that hits closest to home, worldwide, is the trust that individuals

have in the food that they consume. Yet pesticides are still found daily in foods all around the

world. Pesticides are toxins that are used by produce growers universally to control pests that can

destroy crops. These toxins are being ingested by humans in the forms of fruits and vegetables

that have remaining toxins on them. How safe are these toxins to humans and what is being done

to safeguard the environment as well as the health of individuals? Does the average person

consume harmful amounts of poison at every meal? If the levels are unsafe, why is this problem

continuing to get a blind eye from the people who are supposed to protect society? These

questions when asked only lead to more questions. Until things are done to change the systems

of pesticide usage universally, society can never be sure as to the long term effects on our

environment and what they are eating or giving to the future of our world, the children. In some

foreign countries pesticides are used more frequently with legislative control than in the United

States. In Mexico and South America, for example, many of the pesticides that the United States

and Europe have banned, wind up being used on a majority of their produce crops. The largest

problem with this is that Europe and the United States import from South America for produce

all of the time. What good does it do to ban harmful agricultural chemicals to be used on

domestically grown crops if crops in other countries are grown with these same harmful

chemicals, and are then allowed to be imported? Mexico and South America are the leading

suppliers of produce for the earth's population because their climate is very conducive to year

around crops. Unfortunately those countries are also known for their large amount of insects of

all varieties. These insects are steadily becoming more and more immune to toxins that are

sprayed on crops. More than five hundred insects, one hundred and fifty plant diseases and two

hundred and seventy weeds are now resistant to pesticides. Results are that U.S. growers as well,

are steadily forced to apply more and stronger toxins. As the amount and the strength of the toxin

increases, the immunity of the targeted insects to these toxins also increases. Total U.S. crop

losses from insect damage has nearly doubled since 1945. Insecticide use during this same time

has increased tenfold. This war will go on being waged until the game plan is changed. The

produce export trade in some cities and countries constitutes the majority of their economy and

they will protect the resulting income at all costs. These places have very little legislation to

control chemical usage, and follow up on almost none of its effects. Officials do not care how it

affects consumers, being adults or children. Even their own agricultural worker's health is of no

concern. These officials only care about producing crops and exporting them with as little

overhead as possible. The bottom line is, always has been, and always will be money. In Villa

Juarez, Mexico, many children who work in the produce fields are coming down with mysterious

illnesses and some people in this region put the blame directly on those children's contact with

the chemical acephate and other pesticides that are used in that area. The use of acephate is

illegal in the United States, but is perfectly legal in Mexico. Doctors in Juarez are treating

unusually high amounts of cancer and also fifty to eighty cases of chemical poisoning per week

in their agricultural workers. This continues to happen because the government and the growers

do not take these illnesses seriously; the workers are expendable. Growers in Culcan Valley,

Mexico use chemicals to increase production of produce sold in the U.S. every winter.

Unfortunately, studies that were preformed by the Government Accounting office in Mexico

showed that at least six pesticides that are illegal in the U.S. were still on the produce when it

was exported. Moving on to South America, in Chile there are no clear guidelines governing the

use of agricultural chemicals on produce crops. In the city of Rancaga, a large fruit growing

region, a study was done to check the risks that rural workers face, and what they found was

astounding. Dr. Maria Mella found that there is an alarming amount of sterility and birth defects

due to exposure to chemical pesticides in agricultural workers. Congenial deformities were five

times higher, and multiple deformities were a shocking four times higher than normal in this part

of South America. These studies were conducted by the Women's Institute and were based on ten

thousand infants born in this region. Dr. Mella insists that these chemicals cause deformities in




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