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Pesticides Are “Global Human Rights Concern”, Say UN Experts Urging New Treaty

19:00 EST 8 Mar 2017 | Meridian Institute

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, and the Special Rapporteur on Toxics, Baskut Tuncak, are calling for a comprehensive new global treaty that would regulate and phase out the use of dangerous pesticides in farming and move the world toward sustainable agricultural practices. According to Elver and Tuncak, “excessive use of pesticides are very dangerous to human health, to the environment and it is misleading to claim they are vital to ensuring food security.” Instead, they told the Human Rights Council, widely divergent standards of production, use and protection from hazardous pesticides in different countries result in double standards, which seriously impact human rights. Pesticides, they said, lead to an estimated 200,000 acute poisoning deaths each year, with some 99 percent of such fatalities occurring in developing countries. Along with numerous hazards to human health, certain pesticides pose a threat to the entire ecological system on which food production depends, the Rapporteurs added. “Without harmonized, stringent regulations on the production, sale and acceptable levels of pesticide use, the burden of the negative effects of pesticides is felt by poor and vulnerable communities in countries that have less stringent enforcement mechanisms,” they said. Elver and Tuncak also expressed concern about aggressive and unethical marketing tactics used by the agroindustry, as well as heavily financed efforts by industry to influence policymakers and contest scientific evidence. They both urged a new approach to farming, saying, “It is time to overturn the myth that pesticides are necessary to feed the world and create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production.”

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Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism ...