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Research Demonstrates Irregular Usage of Pesticides

11/01/2017 - 11h37

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PHILLIPPE WATANABE
FROM SÃO PAULO

It would not be a surprise if some of the foods on the dinner tables of Brazilians were found to be "seasoned" with pesticides.

Pesticides are not illegal, nor are the possible residues that may remain on the foods, but research has demonstrated certain irregularities.

Greenpeace conducted research in big distribution centers in São Paulo and the Federal District, collecting 50 samples of the following foods: rice, beans, coffee, banana, tomato, papaya, orange, pepper and cauliflower.

Of the 50 samples, 18 contained irregularities. Fifteen of them contained residues of pesticides that should not have been applied to the foods in question.

Karen Friedrich, a researcher at Fiocruz as well as the Brazilian Association of Collective Health (Abrasco), stated that the application of pesticides on foods that they are not authorized for could lead to the consumption of pesticide residue that is above the acceptable daily level – though such consumption has not caused observable side effects.

Despite not being considered an irregularity, the researcher also considers the presence of multiple pesticides in a single sample cause for concern.

According to the Abrasco Report on Pesticides released in 2015, research into the interactions between substances (the "cocktail effect") and the potential aggravation of adverse effects to health, the environment and food hygiene, has not been sufficiently explored.

"On a single plate of food you may have a mixture of pesticides", said Ms. Friedrich. "The effects of such mixtures have not been investigated."

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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