Public Health

Researcher warns of lack of studies on the impact of pesticides on health

Work brings together research from several Brazilian experts, and will be presented at the World Congress on Nutrition and the Rio 20

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Brazil is the largest consumer of pesticides in the world, ahead of the United States, with about 1 billion liters per year. Still, according to the head of the Department of Public Health, University of Brasilia (UNB), Professor Fernando Ferreira Carneiro, there are few studies that show the impacts of these substances in consumer health.

We have great challenges to reveal the impacts of chronic exposure, long-term and low dose, which is the case of the urban consumer who eats every day a little bit of contaminated products, he said.

He is the one responsible for a portfolio that brings together research from various Brazilian experts on the risks of pesticide use in the country. The document was launched during the World Congress of Nutrition, in Rio de Janeiro this week. In addition, the survey will be presented during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio 20), scheduled for June, also in Rio

A researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) in Pernambuco Lia Giraldo recalled that, despite the gaps in national scientific research on the subject, the literature demonstrates the toxic effects related to chronic exposure to these substances through ingestion of contaminated food.

A report from the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), released late last year found that in 2010, 24.3% of 2488 food samples analyzed were contaminated with pesticides unauthorized and 1.7% of them the level of pesticide was above the allowed limit. Chili heads the list of foods with large numbers of samples contaminated by pesticides, followed by strawberry and cucumber.