Pesticides are increasingly becoming a problem across the world. With continuous usage over many years, depth and range of their impacts are a cause of concern. From the impacts on non-human life in and around farms, and to the farmers, pesticides and residues are now reaching children, the future generations. Pesticides are now increasingly being noticed for their inter-generational impacts.
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In a “state of the science” review released today, PAN International presents a large body of research documenting the adverse human health and environmental impacts of glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides and underscores the need for a global phase-out. Environmental and health advocates say the monograph on the world’s most widely used herbicide, commonly known by its original trade name Roundup, should serve as a wake up call for regulators, governments and users around the world.
Adverse human impacts detailed in the review include acute poisoning, kidney and liver damage, imbalances in the intestinal microbiome and intestinal functioning, cancer, genotoxicity, endocrine disruption, reproductive and developmental reduction, neurological damage, and immune system dysfunction.
This review dispels this myth of ‘safety’ and highlights the urgent need to re-examine the authorization of products containing glyphosate. A full chemical profile is presented, along with the regulatory status of products containing glyphosate in many countries and information on viable alternatives.
Glyphosate is included in PAN International’s “List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides” (1) targeted for global phaseout. The global network is calling for the herbicide to be replaced by agroecological approaches to weed management in diversified cropping systems and non-crop situations.
“Replacing Chemicals with Biology: Phasing out Highly Hazardous Pesticides with Agroecology” provides powerful evidence from The current model of industrial agriculture is a dead end every region of the world of improved yields, greater profitability for farmers, improved health, improved food security and sovereignty, greater resilience to adverse climate events, better opportunities for women farmers, improved biodiversity and social benefits such as better cooperation between farmers and within communities. For example, farmers practicing Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture in India find that their costs have been slashed by a third whilst yields have been maintained. There are seven core principles of agroecology which aim to develop and maintain an agroecosystem that works with nature, not against it – creating a balance that keeps pests in check.
Adverse effects of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) on people and the environment have been a global concern for many years. In 2006, this was clearly expressed by the FAO Council when it recommended a progressive ban on HHPs. The concern crystallized at UNEP’s Fourth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4) in Nairobi in 2012, with the submission of a conference room paper supported by at least 65 countries and organizations. The proposed resolution included supporting “a progressive ban on HHPs and their substitution with safer alternatives”. While the resolution was not immediately adopted, countries participating in subsequent regional meetings of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) have reiterated concern about HHPs and called for more information on ecosystem-based alternatives. At SAICM’s Open-Ended Working Group in December 2014, following a call by the entire African region for a global alliance to phase-out these chemicals, it was agreed a proposal would be developed for ICCM4.
The purpose of this publication is to provide information drawn from all regions to assist countries in replacing HHPs with ecosystem-based approaches to pest and crop management – replacing chemicals with biology. It draws together previously published and new material in a form that is accessible for policy- and decision-makers at the national and international level, as well as providing practical guidance at the farm and farm-support level. It also points out that use, and phasing out, of HHPs must be seen in the context not only of human health and environmental impacts and costs, but also in the context of food security, poverty reduction, and climate change.