Monoculture Farming Part 2: Pollution and Health Impacts (1)

Hi guys! I’m nearing the end of the theme on monoculture farming. There are 2 parts to this episode. They will discuss the health effects that pollution caused by monoculture farming can bring about, not just to the farmers, but also the the wider population.

Use of chemical applications and varying extent of health Impacts to farmers

The World Health Organization estimates that there are 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning each year and up to 220,000 deaths, primarily in developing countries. Pesticide application are not very precise, and often affect non-target organisms, such as natural vegetation in the area, and even humans.Children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticides (Lah, 2011). Even very low levels of exposure during development may have adverse health effects. I think this is a strong justification for the anti use of child labour in many of the coffee and cocoa plantations. Children are at greater risk from exposure to pesticides because of their small size. Relative to their size, children eat, drink, and breathe more than adults. Their bodies and organs are growing rapidly, which also makes them more susceptible (Lah, 2011).

Controversy about the safety of the weed killer recently erupted in Argentina, one of the world’s largest exporters of soy. In May 2009, an environmental group petitioned Argentina’s Supreme Court, seeking a temporary ban on glyphosate use after an Argentine scientist and local activists reported a high incidence of birth defects and cancers in people living near crop-spraying areas (Gammon, 2009). Scientists there also linked genetic malformations in amphibians with exposure to glysophate. Glysophate is a active ingredient used in Roundup (a top American weed killer).

That will be the end of today’s post. This post will be the second last post for the monoculture farming theme! I will move on to the theme of animal farming soon! Stay tuned 😀

1. Gammon, C. (2009). Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells. [online] Scientificamerican.com. Available at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/weed-whacking-herbicide-p/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2015].

2. Lah, K. (2011). Effects of Pesticides on Human Health – Toxipedia. [online] Toxipedia.org. Available at: http://www.toxipedia.org/display/toxipedia/Effects+of+Pesticides+on+Human+Health [Accessed 5 Mar. 2015].

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