Novopress has translated into French a scouring survey of Micheal Warren and Natasha Pisarenko (Associated Press) dated October 20 on the devastating side effects of agro-chemicals from Monsanto, a multinational company specializing in pesticides and genetically modified seeds. Farm worker Fabian Tomasi was not used to wearing protective clothing when handling pesticides in powder form. At the age of 47, he is now only a living skeleton. The teacher Andrea Druetta lives in a city where it is illegal to apply pesticides within 500 meters of the houses, and yet there is soybean planted up to 30 m away from home Recently, his boys were sprayed with chemicals as they bathed in the pool behind the house. Research conducted by Sofia Gatica to understand the death of her newborn following kidney problems led last year to the first survey in Argentina on illegal spreading.But 80% of children observed in its neighborhood carry traces of pesticides in their blood. American biotechnology has raised Argentina to the third largest soybean producer, but the chemicals behind this boom are not restricted to soybean, cotton and wheat fields alone.

The Associated Press has found dozens of cases where these poisons are used in a manner contrary to all existing regulations.

And doctors now warn that the uncontrolled use of pesticides could be the cause of more and more health problems among the 12 million inhabitants of the largest agricultural area of ​​the country.

In the province of Santa Fe, the heart of the soybean industry, the average number of cancers is twice the national average.

In Chaco, the poorest province in the country, children are four times more likely to be born with serious congenital disorders in the last decade, marked by the dramatic expansion of a biotechnology-related agricultural industry.

“Changes in the way of cultivation have clearly changed the characteristics of diseases,” says Dr. Medardo Avila Vasquez, pediatrician co-founder of the “Doctors of fumigates towns” association.

“We went from one healthy population to another with a rate of cancer, neonatal disorders and diseases, rarely observed previously.”

Formerly known for its beef from its vast grasslands, Argentina has undergone a remarkable transformation since 1996, when the company Monsanto, domiciled in St Louis (USA), sold the promise of better yields with less pesticides thanks to its seeds and chemicals.

Today, all Argentine soy, but also most of its wheat and also its cotton, are derived from genetically modified seeds. Soybean cultivation has tripled to 47 million acres (about 19 million hectares), and like in the US, cattle are now fed soybeans and cereals in feedlots.


Storage of empty insecticide cans!

But when insects and weeds in turn became resistant, farmers increased the chemical load ninefold, from 9 million gallons (40 million liters) in 1990 to over 84 (378 million liters) today. ‘hui.

And especially Argentinian farmers are now spreading 4.3 pounds of pesticide concentrate per hectare (about 5 kg per hectare), twice as much as US farmers, according to an Associated Press survey. crossing government data and those of the pesticide industry.

In response to a growing number of complaints, President Cristina Fernandez set up a commission in 2000 to study the impact of pesticide application on human health.

His first report called for “a systematic control of herbicide concentrations and their components … as well as extensive laboratory and field studies when using formulas containing glyphosates (a systemic herbicide known as Roundup). , as well as its interaction with other agro-chemicals currently used in our country “.

But the commission has not sat since 2010, as the Auditor General recently discovered.

In a written statement, however, Monsanto spokesman Thomas Helscher says the company “does not turn a blind eye to the misuse of pesticides, or the violation of laws regarding their use.”

An epidemiological study of 65,000 people in Santa Fe, led by Dr. Damian Vezenassi of the National University of Rosario, found a cancer rate two to four times higher than the national average, as well as thyroid, respiratory problems and other conditions rarely seen in the past.

“There could be a link with agro-chemicals,” think Verzenassi, “they [Monsanto] do many toxicity tests of their basic ingredients, but have never studied the toxicity due to the interaction of different products they use “.


Photo above: March 31, 2013, 2-year-old Camila Veron, born with multiple malformations and very sick, stands in front of her family’s home in Avia Terai, Chaco Province, Argentina. (AP Photo / Natacha Pisarenko)

Hospital records show a quadrupling of congenital conditions in the Chaco from 19.1 / 10 000 to 85.3 / 10 000 in the ten years following the authorization of introduction of chemicals.

A team of doctors then followed 2051 people in six cities, and discovered a high number of diseases when they lived in an agricultural environment.

In the rural village of Avia Terai, 31% of those surveyed reported having a family member with cancer; a number to compare with the 3% with the same disease in the traditional ranch village of Charadai.

They also found cases of skeletal malformation, spinal cord injury, deafness, blindness, neurological damage and atypical dermatological damage.

Perhaps it is impossible to prove that a chemical is the cause of a specific disease.

But doctors are calling for more studies, and broader, longer-term, and mostly independent studies, saying it’s now up to the government to prove that accumulating agricultural burdens do not make people sick.