New U.N. Report Estimates Pesticides Kill 200,000 People Per Year

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New U.N. Report Estimates Pesticides Kill 200,000 People Per YearPhoto – Pixabay (PD)

For the longest time, the public has been made to believe that we need pesticides in order to secure our food supply. Companies that manufacture these dangerous chemicals have labeled them as “vital” for sustainable food security for the entire world – but not a word of this is true. United Nations experts called special rapporteurs denounce these claims of the importance of pesticides, saying that continued pesticide use has been linked to thousands of deaths each year – and morbidities such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases as well.

In a recent report published by the UN News Centre, two human rights experts – Hilal Elver and Baskut Tuncak – are calling for global action in order to regulate and eventually phase out the use of dangerous chemicals on the population’s food sources. In particular, these experts raise the safety issue of how pesticides can affect the world’s vulnerable population, namely pregnant women and children. [1]

The UN report calls for a global treaty, one that goes beyond the international agreements made between a few countries and instead involves all the countries all over the world. The experts report that a gap is created in human rights protection because existing policies and treaties only regulate a few pesticides and do not regulate the entirety of their life cycle on earth. [1]

The World Health Organization’s Health and Environment Linkages Initiative or HELI reports that unintentional poisonings account for approximately 355,000 deaths each year — higher than the prediction made by UN. Out of these deaths, two thirds can be found in developing countries where pesticide use and inaccessibility of emergency medical attention (and health care in general) run rampant. These kinds of poisonings are strongly linked to the inappropriate use of toxic chemicals such as the ones used in pesticides. The HELI focuses on the problems associated with use of pesticides and their disposal, especially in countries when agriculture is plays a big role in their economy. [2]

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, chronic exposure to pesticides can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, damage to kidneys, liver, endocrine and nervous systems, and an increased risk for cancer. A person who is constantly exposed to the harmful chemicals can experience headaches, dizziness, generalized weakness, and nausea. The EPA also warns that pesticides, though used outside, can affect air quality inside your home due to “pesticide drift” and enter your home, increasing yourself and your family’s health risks. [3]

Instead of going the chemical route, try organic. For your own garden – there are plenty of natural pesticides you can use without exposing yourself to the dangers of using these toxic chemicals. See How To Get Rid Of Garden Pests Without Chemicals


[1] United Nations News Centre. UN human rights experts call for global treaty to regulate dangerous pesticides.

[2] The Health and Environment Linkages Initiative (HELI). Toxic hazards.

[3] Environmental Protection Agency. Indoor Air Quality.

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