Pesticides are unnecessary and violate human rights

„Excessive use of pesticides is very dangerous for the human health and the environment and it is misleading to claim that pesticides are necessary for ensuring food production.” In their report to the General Assembly of the United Nations and The Human Rights Council of the United Nations the special rapporteurs Dr. Hilal Elver und Baskut Tuncak contradict the paradigms of the agricultural chemistry industry giants.

Annually 200.000 people are dying due to poisoning by pesticides, most of them in developing countries, where there are hardly any or no rules at all for protection against and the use of pesticides. Pesticides may cause adverse health effects, such as Cancer, Alzheimer, Parkinson, hormonal disruptions, developmental effects and sterility. Especially agricultural labourers are under threat, people living in the vicinity of fields and pregnant women and children.

The experts report that pesticides are environmentally persistent over decades constituting a threat to the entire ecosystem. Pesticides poison the soil and the waters, cause a loss of biodiversity and reduce the nutritional value of food. The natural enemies of moths and bugs are poisoned, too and therefore cannot carry out their regulatory tasks. As a consequence of these negative changes costs are rising for food production and expenses in other areas like health care and drinking water treatment all over the world.

First and foremost the neonicotinoids, a new type of pesticide against insects, are especially dangerous because they are co-responsible for the disappearing of the bees. As 71% of all crops are pollinated by bees, because of that the basis for food production all over the world is under threat.

It is only for very few neonicotinoids that there are international agreements to protect from environmental dangers. For the majority of pesticides and nations exist no regulations, providing an appropriate protection. Therefore there is a critical gap in human rights (legislation). Without stricter regulations, it will be especially the poor and vulnerable ones/ the poor and vulnerable humans that will be suffering from poisoning by pesticides.

The special rapporteurs accuse the agroindustry of playing down the danger with false allegations. Often the farmers are being blamed for environmental damages. The blame is often shifted onto the farmers for the damage done to the environment by pretending it to be due to their improper use of the product. In the report the experts also are expressing their concern about the aggressive and unethical marketing strategies of the agro-industrial groups: by investing billions, politics and industry are influenced and scientific evidence is counteracted/ fought.

The authors underline that solutions have been found for the longest time in order to be able to avoid poisonous chemicals. Accordingly organic farming is capable of providing sufficient food to feed the entire world. The correspondents of the report also point out that safe solutions for a pesticide-free agriculture is often developed only after the government exerts enough legal pressure on the industry.

In their summary both rapporteurs are writing,” It is time to throw over the myth of pesticides being necessary to feed the world and to start a global process of transition to a safer and healthier food production.”


United Nations news:

Read more about the disappearance of the bees in our Fact Sheet.