Latin America Struggles to Reduce Illegal Pesticide Use as Agricultural Exports Boom, the Region Is Slow to Ban the Hazardous

By James Langman, Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, September 8, 1999 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Latin America Struggles to Reduce Illegal Pesticide Use as Agricultural Exports Boom, the Region Is Slow to Ban the Hazardous


James Langman, Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Farmers in the United States now face stricter controls on the pesticides they spray on fruits and vegetables.

But what about pesticides used on the hundreds of millions of dollars in grapes, apples, coffee, and other produce arriving in American grocery stores from Chile, Brazil, or Colombia?

There are moves in Latin America to gradually restrict or at least, officially, ban the use of the most hazardous pesticides. But enforcement of pesticide use in the region is spotty at best.

Experts say that in the effort to push agricultural production to ever-higher levels, many nations here have failed to create corresponding policies and programs necessary to safeguard workers and the environment from the harmful effects of pesticides.

"For all practical purposes, we don't have any norms, there is nothing to comply with. Everything is voluntary," says Patricio del Real, who worked for 15 years advising farmworker organizations on pesticides.

Moreover, many Latin American states have reduced protection at the behest of big business.

In Colombia, the hazardous insecticide endosulfan used in the cultivation of coffee was prohibited in 1995. Despite the ban, officials say it is still widely used.

In the Dominican Republic, all of the pesticides on the infamous "Dirty Dozen" list of the world's (now 18) most hazardous pesticides were banned in 1991. But nongovernmental organizations have documented that these dangerous chemicals still can be easily purchased in rural areas.

In Brazil, which has one of the most advanced pesticide laws in Latin America, some previously prohibited pesticides are now registered for use due to heavy pressure from industry.

Chile plans to ban

While on the positive side Chilean officials say this year they plan to phase out the use of chemicals that are on the Dirty Dozen list, there still are virtually no regulations on how pesticides are used in the country.

Maria Elena Rozas, coordinator of a coalition of social and environmental organizations in Chile called the Alliance for a Better Quality of Life, says that 40 of the chemicals on the "United Nations Consolidated List of Pesticides Prohibited or Severely Restricted by Governments" are being used in Chile.

"There is strong pressure from industry to permit the use of the most hazardous pesticides because they are cheaper and considered by them to be more effective," Mrs. Rozas says.

Imports of pesticides triple

In 1998, Chile's imports of pesticides nearly tripled from what it imported in 1984 to 16,583 tons.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Latin America Struggles to Reduce Illegal Pesticide Use as Agricultural Exports Boom, the Region Is Slow to Ban the Hazardous
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?