Wednesday, 18 February 2015


BBC World Service, Assignment
14 May 2014 Last updated at 01:21
Are pesticides linked to health problems in Argentina?
By Linda Pressly
“Could pesticides – their use and abuse – increase levels of cancer and birth
defects? It is a question asked across the vast belt of Argentina where GM crops
are grown. In Chaco, the Minister of Public Health wants an independent
commission to investigate a growing health crisis.”
Carlos lives near Avia Terai, and says agrochemicals are sprayed close to his
home, contravening local laws.
“If the wind changes the agrochemicals come into the house. My uncle just died
of cancer. My wife too passed away from cancer. Now many, many people are dying
of cancer – it didn’t used to be like that,” he says.
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Cancer is becoming more common everywhere. Could Carlos’s experience just be
part of life in the modern world? He doesn’t think so.
“In my opinion, this has to do with the poison they put on the fields.”
“We want someone to come in from outside and carry out an exhaustive analysis of
all these cases. As a doctor, as a minister and as a Chaqueno, I’m concerned
young women are having recurrent miscarriages, that children are born with
deformities, that there are many examples of cancer. But we also have many cases
in areas where they don’t use agrochemicals. So we must treat this with
scientific rigour – that’s what we’re doing this year.”
(Dr Andres Carrasco spoke to the BBC in Buenos Aires – his death was announced
in Argentina on Saturday 10 May 2014).
Contrast this with just one advertisement for the product as here:
“Welcome to the home of weedkilling
Roundup is the weedkiller the professionals use. Utilising the same advanced
technology developed by its agricultural counterpart, Roundup has been specially
formulated to kill weeds right down to the root.
So, with Roundup Weed Killer, gardeners know that, once the weed’s gone, it’s
gone for good.”
Note the “medium” and “message” of the advertisement. “It’s gone for good.” All
dangers and adverse implications are eliminated. This poison is presented only
as a “GOOD”. It is an example of how the attitude of the consumer is
surreptitiously influenced to ever more dependence on oil by-products, that have
a poisoning effect on the earth and all it’s living systems – including humans
themselves. END.

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