World Environment Day 2015: PAN groups renew call to protect children from hazardous pesticides
300+ global organizations call for ban on pesticides
Pesticide Action Network International today marked the World Environment Day with a renewed call to phase out highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) that destroy the environment and harm people’s health, especially children.
While this year’s theme of World Environment Day, “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”, highlights the consumption aspect of the environmental challenges that the world confronts, Javier Souza, chair of PAN International says “there is the need to underscore how food production, which is dominated by chemical-intensive, corporate agriculture, degrades the health of the environment and of the people.”
“Children eat more food per unit of body weight than adults. If the food they eat are heavily sprayed with harmful pesticides, imagine the amount of poisoning that happens to their body,” says PAN North America executive director Judy Hatcher. In the United States over 90% of people tested had metabolites of chlorpyrifos in their urine. Chlorpyrifos is a neurotoxic insecticide linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, decline in IQ and reduced cognitive functions.
“More alarmingly, even banned pesticides still find their way to our body through the food we eat,” says Sarojeni Rengam from PAN Asia Pacific. Earlier this year, PANAP reported a test done by the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Cameron Highlands. The study discovered that the rivers and tap water in Cameron, which is one of Malaysia’s top vegetable exporters, have traces of the highly toxic endosulfan and other harmful pesticides.
“Children’s health can be irreversibly harmed by neurotoxic and endocrine disrupting pesticides that are found in the environment and this aspect needs to be taken into consideration when addressing the safety of our planet,” observes Keith Tyrell from PAN UK.
For children, some of the health effects of pesticide exposure include birth defects; cancer; acute poisoning; asthma, allergies and other immune system problems; reproductive disorders and abnormalities; obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases; and neurodevelopmental and behavioral disorders.
“In Africa not much research has been done on the impact of pesticides on children’s health, yet pesticide use continues to increase, and this is a matter of concern,” adds Abou Thiam from PAN Africa.
“But the good news is that people and communities can fight back in various ways, in big and small ways. Parents, for instance, can help educate their children and introduce them to organic, healthy food. Parents and their children can start their own organic farm or garden,” remarks Rengam.
PAN International, for its part, is urging governments and corporations to take concrete steps towards a phase-out and ban of HHPs, to be replaced with safe, sustainable and ecological alternative methods of pest control. More than 300 organizations from over 80 countries in all regions of the world already signed the PAN International Appeal for a ban of highly hazardous pesticides (https://pan-international.org/wp-content/uploads/HHP-Appeal-with-signatures-en.pdf).
Carina Weber, director of PAN Germany says, “The number of signatories indicates that not just the concerns about the use of toxic pesticides are growing but that civil society on a global scale does not want to endure the negative effects anymore.”
The petition can be accessed here.
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is a network of over 600 participating nongovernmental organizations, institutions and individuals in over 90 countries working to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives.
Javier Souza, Chair of PAN International & PAN Latin America: email@example.com, 0054 11 36171782
Paul Towers, PAN North America: firstname.lastname@example.org, cell: +1 916 216 1082
Sarojeni Rengam, PAN Asia Pacific: email@example.com, +6 04 657 0271
Abou Thiam, PAN Africa: firstname.lastname@example.org, +221 338254914
Keith Tyrell, PAN UK: email@example.com, +44 7588 706224
Carina Weber, PAN Germany: firstname.lastname@example.org, +49 40 3991910 23
For more information on the “Protect Our Children from Toxic Pesticides” Campaign, visit http://panap.net/childrenandpesticide/