Quantcast

Pesticides Cause 'Catastrophic' Harm to People and Planet, UN Report Says

Popular

The chronic overuse of pesticides across the world has caused "catastrophic" harms to human health, human rights and global biodiversity, according to a report presented to the United Nations human rights council Wednesday.

The UN-solicited study on toxic chemical impacts to global food sources criticizes pesticide manufacturers' "systematic denial" of the broad harms caused by their products and calls for a transition to healthier farming methods that move away from the current dependence on pesticides.

"This report vividly reveals the harms pesticide manufacturers have caused by promoting the myth that their toxic chemicals are necessary to feed the world," said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. "As this report recommends, we must move away from the industry-driven addiction to pesticides that is poisoning farmworkers, contaminating our water and wildlife and causing long-term human health problems."

The report is part of a growing body of evidence detailing the harms caused by the overuse and under-regulation of pesticides. For example, a study published last week in the journal Nature Plants found pesticide use could be heavily reduced in most situations without an impact to crop yield.

The UN report finds that poverty, coupled with inequitable production and distribution systems, are two of the major barriers to feeding the hungry.

"Far from being necessary for feeding a growing population, the overuse of pesticides has crippled agricultural ecosystems by helping to spur pest infestations," said Donley. "Nature is our ally, not our adversary. Now, governments must take aggressive action to change course and protect people and the environment from these dangerous, overused pesticides."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Protesters march during a "Friday for future" youth demonstration in a street of Davos on Jan. 24 on the sideline of the World Economic Forum annual meeting. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Youth climate activists marched through the streets of Davos, Switzerland Friday as the World Economic Forum wrapped up in a Fridays for Future demonstration underscoring their demand that the global elite act swiftly to tackle the climate emergency.

Read More
chuchart duangdaw / Moment / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

The year is less than four weeks old, but scientists already know that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to head upwards — as they have every year since measurements began leading to a continuation of the Earth's rising heat.

Read More
Sponsored
Lucy Lambriex / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Katey Davidson

Each year, an estimated 600 million people worldwide experience a foodborne illness.

While there are many causes, a major and preventable one is cross-contamination.

Read More
picture alliance / dpa / F. Rumpenhorst

By Arthur Sullivan

When was the last time you traveled by plane? Various researchers say as little as between 5 and 10 percent of the global population fly in a given year.

Read More
A Starbucks barista prepares a drink at a Starbucks Coffee Shop location in New York. Ramin Talaie / Corbis via Getty Images

By Cathy Cassata

Are you getting your fill of Starbucks' new Almondmilk Honey Flat White, Oatmilk Honey Latte, and Coconutmilk Latte, but wondering just how healthy they are?

Read More