10 Key Facts to Know About Pesticides

01 Jan 1970

1) Our current agricultural model that depends on the excessive use of pesticides is dangerous to human health and the environment

2) Pesticide use has failed to help eliminate world hunger and it is misleading to claim that they are vital for food security, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food.  

3) Chronic exposure to pesticides has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, respiratory problems, hormone disruption and developmental disorders, among  others. Farmers, agricultural workers and their families, residents of agricultural zones,  pregnant women and new-born babies are most at risk.  

4) They hide everywhere: pesticides residues have been detected in many places including people’s bedrooms and children’s playgrounds

5) Pesticides have a major impact on natural ecosystems and biodiversity. Their use has been linked to the collapse of bee colonies and pollinators, bird populations and insects.  

6) Pesticides remain in our environment: many synthetic pesticides which have been banned for decades because of their toxicity continue to be detected in waterways, groundwater, soils, and natural ecosystems. 

7) The use of pesticides is increasing worldwide, although the health and ecological consequences have been long known. Since the 1990s pesticide use has increased globally by more than 50%

8) The pesticide business rests in the hands of a concentrated industry: In 2018, only 4 multinational agro-chemical companies (Syngenta/ChemChina, Bayer, Corteva, BASF) owned 70% of the global pesticide market. 

9) Pesticides are a harmful business: every year, there are around 385 million unintentional,  acute pesticide poisonings, leading to approximately 11,000 deaths per year. Farmers and  farm workers, particularly in the global south are mostly affected9.  

10) Double standards: many pesticides that are not permitted in Europe because of health related  or ecological reasons are still produced and exported to non-EU countries with weaker health  and environmental laws, causing dramatic impacts for human health and the environment.10 

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