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Brazilians poisoned to death as 70 percent of crops are treated with pesticides banned in other nations


(NaturalNews) Pesticide exposure is a very real problem around the world, but nowhere is it felt more strongly than in Brazil. In a lecture at the Health Movement Forum last week, Brazilian Association of Collective Health Researcher Karen Friedrich announced that approximately 70 percent of the food that Brazilians eat has been contaminated by agrochemicals.

Friedrich revealed that Brazilians actually consume almost 7.5 liters of agropesticides each year, which means they have the dubious honor of having the highest per capita rate of agropesticide consumption in the world.

To add insult to injury, she pointed out that at least a third of these agrochemicals are banned in the U.S. and the European Union because of their health and environmental impacts.

Scientist Leonardo Melgarejo expressed concern that Brazilian lawamkers are overly influenced by powerful agricultural lobbying groups and have been undermining efforts to rein in the use of these toxic chemicals.

In fact, the country's congress is reviewing a bill that replaces the word "pesticide" on packaging with the euphemism "plant health protection". Melgarejo feels this would only heighten the risks of these chemicals.

Apparently the lawmakers are unconcerned by the fact that the World Health Organization released a report stating that glyphosate, which is commonly found in pesticides and herbicides, is a probably carcinogen. That key piece of information should have led them to make the terminology on these labels stronger, not softer.

The Brazilian Health Ministry first started keeping records in 2007. In that year, the reported number of human pesticide intoxication cases was 2,178. By 2013, the number had more than doubled to 4,537. The annual number of fatalities from pesticide poisoning rose during the same time from 132 to 206. It is believed that these figures could actually be much higher because tracking is not very thorough.

Friedrich said: "The cases of contamination are not well documented, but they affect a large portion of the population, generating reproductive changes, birth defects and effects on the immune system."

Brazil's track record with pesticides and GMOs is very poor

After an analysis of 1,665 samples in 2014, the Brazilian health agency ANVISA discovered that 29 percent showed residues that were in excess of the permitted levels or contained chemicals that were unapproved. Some of the foods studied included apples, peppers, and rice.

None of this should come as much of a surprise in a country where a former Monsanto lawyer regulates the flow of GMOs. His advice enabled the approval of GM maize despite strong opposition and Monsanto's inability to prove that it was safe for human consumption.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets to demand President Dilma Rousseff's dismissal on the grounds of corruption. While her implication in a kickback scheme that involved the state-run oil company Petrobras was the straw that broke the camel's back, ill will had been building for quite some time over the general corruption taking place at all levels of the Brazilian government. It appears the Brazilian government can be bought, and Big Ag has very deep pockets.

How to minimize pesticide exposure

Unfortunately, this problem is not limited to Brazil. Governments around the world have varying levels of tolerance when it comes to pesticides, and avoiding them completely can be an extremely difficult task no matter where you live.

If the government cannot be trusted to protect you from dangerous substances, what can you do to try to minimize the damage from pesticide exposure, particularly if growing your own food is not an option?

All fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly before consumption. A simple spray can be created by combining a cup of water with a tablespoon each of lemon juice and white vinegar in a spray bottle. The solution should be sprayed on the produce and then allowed to sit for around ten minutes before being washed off to rinse away the residue. Activated charcoal, meanwhile, can be taken to help flush toxins out of the body.

If you think you're out of the woods because you live in the U.S., the book Food Forensics might change your mind. While some of the chemicals used in Brazil are banned here, plenty of other toxic substances are not. In the book, Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, tests hundreds of different foods and reveals the shocking amounts of pesticides and other dangerous ingredients they contain.

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