Cr a p Essay

This essay has a total of 2861 words and 10 pages.

cr a p

There are many important issues in the world regarding the environment and it's affects on
the average person. Though, the one that hits closest to home, worldwide, is the trust that
individuals have in the food that they consume. Yet pesticides are still found daily in foods
all around the world. Pesticides are toxins that are used by produce growers universally to
control pests that can destroy crops. These toxins are being ingested by humans in the
forms of fruits and vegetables that have remaining toxins on them. How safe are these
toxins to humans and what is being done to safeguard the environment as well as the
health of individuals? Does the average person consume harmful amounts of poison at
every meal? If the levels are unsafe, why is this problem continuing to get a blind eye from
the people who are supposed to protect society? These questions when asked only lead to
more questions. Until things are done to change the systems of pesticide usage universally,
society can never be sure as to the long term effects on our environment and what they
are eating or giving to the future of our world, the children. In some foreign countries
pesticides are used more frequently with legislative control than in the United States. In
Mexico and South America, for example, many of the pesticides that the United States and
Europe have banned, wind up being used on a majority of their produce crops. The largest
problem with this is that Europe and the United States import from South America for
produce all of the time. What good does it do to ban harmful agricultural chemicals to be
used on domestically grown crops if crops in other countries are grown with these same
harmful chemicals, and are then allowed to be imported? Mexico and South America are
the leading suppliers of produce for the earth's population because their climate is very
conducive to year around crops. Unfortunately those countries are also known for their
large amount of insects of all varieties. These insects are steadily becoming more and
more immune to toxins that are sprayed on crops. More than five hundred insects, one
hundred and fifty plant diseases and two hundred and seventy weeds are now resistant to
pesticides. Results are that U.S. growers as well, are steadily forced to apply more and
stronger toxins. As the amount and the strength of the toxin increases, the immunity of the
targeted insects to these toxins also increases. Total U.S. crop losses from insect damage
has nearly doubled since 1945. Insecticide use during this same time has increased tenfold.
This war will go on being waged until the game plan is changed. The produce export trade
in some cities and countries constitutes the majority of their economy and they will protect
the resulting income at all costs. These places have very little legislation to control
chemical usage, and follow up on almost none of its effects. Officials do not care how it
affects consumers, being adults or children. Even their own agricultural worker's health is
of no concern. These officials only care about producing crops and exporting them with as
little overhead as possible. The bottom line is, always has been, and always will be money.
In Villa Juarez, Mexico, many children who work in the produce fields are coming down
with mysterious illnesses and some people in this region put the blame directly on those
children's contact with the chemical acephate and other pesticides that are used in that
area. The use of acephate is illegal in the United States, but is perfectly legal in Mexico.
Doctors in Juarez are treating unusually high amounts of cancer and also fifty to eighty
cases of chemical poisoning per week in their agricultural workers. This continues to
happen because the government and the growers do not take these illnesses seriously; the
workers are expendable. Growers in Culcan Valley, Mexico use chemicals to increase
production of produce sold in the U.S. every winter. Unfortunately, studies that were
preformed by the Government Accounting office in Mexico showed that at least six
pesticides that are illegal in the U.S. were still on the produce when it was exported.
Moving on to South America, in Chile there are no clear guidelines governing the use of
agricultural chemicals on produce crops. In the city of Rancaga, a large fruit growing
region, a study was done to check the risks that rural workers face, and what they found
was astounding. Dr. Maria Mella found that there is an alarming amount of sterility and
birth defects due to exposure to chemical pesticides in agricultural workers. Congenial
deformities were five times higher, and multiple deformities were a shocking four times
higher than normal in this part of South America. These studies were conducted by the
Women's Institute and were based on ten thousand infants born in this region. Dr. Mella
insists that these chemicals cause deformities in infants, sterility in workers, and induced
miscarriages. Horribly, she approximates that up to sixty percent of pesticides used on
wheat in South America are still present on the bread when it is consumed. Seeing how
harmful pesticides can be to the workers who create the produce, one must wonder how
much it can affect the consumer, maybe it depends on the strength and the harmfulness of
the chemicals. In Chile, many pesticides are derived from Thalidomide, a sleeping pill used
in the 1950's, but it was removed from the United States when it was found to be
responsible for severe deformities in infants, infants born without limbs. Other pesticides
that are used in Chile are parathon, paraquat, and lindane. They have already been banned
in most other countries. Chile is among the countries with the weakest and least restrictive
legislation on the control of pesticides. They also use products like pentachlophenal, which
is a highly toxic fungicide used on their crops. It usually ends up seeping into ground water,
which in turn is consumed by individuals and attacks the central nervous system. We
import strawberries and grapes from Chile every day in America that probably contains
one or more of these harmful chemicals. We also import a great percentage of our
bananas from Costa Rica. The banana industry runs the government there because banana
exportation is the major economic income for Costa Rica and they donate much of their
efforts to keeping up the banana crops. In Costa Rica, banana production accounts for five
percent of the land, twenty percent of their export revenues, and a whopping thirty-five
percent of their pesticide business. Workers start applying toxins early in the production of
bananas because they are susceptible to insects. They apply about thirty kilograms of
active pesticides per acre, per year and they spray fungicide up to forty times per year.
This is ten times higher than the normal amount used on produce. The Worldwide Health
Organization says that the pesticides used in South America are the most dangerous in the
world. Growers use chemicals like fenamifos, etoprop, and paraquat, all of which are
banned or are being reviewed. Exposure of workers to these chemicals has caused
blindness, sterility and even death. The growers use such high amounts of chemicals
because worm infestation is high in fledging bananas. Therefore, workers tie bags of
pesticides directly on young banana bunches, but when the wind blows, the bags are swept
into streams and rivers. It is the people of Costa Rica who pay a high price for bananas.
Many well-known names in the banana business grow their bananas in Costa Rica.
Chiquita, Dole, and Del Monte are just a few, for example, that have fields there. They
claim that they are concerned for the health of the consumers and workers, but they have
actually done very little to change the way pesticides are being handled and tested. The
Costa Rican regulatory service is responsible for checking up on banana growers, but the
head of the department has admitted that he has never visited a banana plantation because
he has no funding for vehicles. What kind of dummy organization is this? The only checks
that are being conducted are randomly done when they are exporting the bananas. There
has never been a case when the bananas entering the United States, were checked, did not
exceed the limits of pesticide residue. Growers are more concerned with how their
bananas look that if they are harmful to the consumer. This leads to the question, why does
the United States allow the produce into its supermarkets? Who is getting paid? Over half
of the U.S. House of Representatives has agreed to sign a new bill that will weaken the
federal laws regarding high-risk pesticides in foods and water. Maybe this is because these
same representatives have been traced to thirteen million dollars donated to them in the
name of campaign contributions. Who contributed this money? The pesticide industry
contributed most of the thirteen million, and they have steadily filled the pockets of our
trusted representatives for sometime. But what about Americans, they spend ten percent
of their incomes and food for their families, but for what? To be poisoned? The Food and
Drug Administration and the USDA share responsibility for checking the levels of toxins in
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