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Argentina: Countryside No Longer Synonymous with Healthy Living

Source:  Copyright 2009, Inter Press Service
Date:  March 4, 2009
Byline:  Marcela Valente
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Once a serene refuge from urban pollution and chaos, the Argentine countryside has now become a place fraught with risks for many local residents. The massive use of pesticides on fields of soy, the country’s top export, is creating a "health catastrophe" in the rural sector, environmentalists warn.

A report by the Rural Reflection Group (GRR), a local environmental organisation, points to an increase in health problems in the countryside, such as cases of cancer at early ages, birth defects, lupus, kidney problems, respiratory ailments and dermatitis, based on the accounts of rural doctors, experts and the residents of dozens of farming towns.

The GRR has been carrying out a campaign since 2006 to identify towns affected by the spraying of glyphosate, the herbicide tolerated by the genetically modified (GM) soybeans planted in Argentina, which kills all plants other than the crop itself.

When glyphosate is sprayed from planes, the most ...

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