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Brazil: Congress set to vote on making the world’s leading pesticide user more toxic still

Despite mass opposition, Brail’s notoriously corrupt Congress has paved the way for a vote on easing authorization for still more pesticide use in the country which is already the world’s largest consumer of toxic agrochemicals. A new bill promoted by Brazil’s bancada ruralista, the agribusiness lobby whose votes sustain President Temer, would ease the authorization of new pesticides through a fast-track process which gives the Ministry of Agriculture unilateral power to approve new pesticide products, eliminates the decision-making role of the Health and Environment ministries and prohibits state and local lawmakers from introducing restrictions of their own.

Officially, Brazil recorded over 100,000 cases of acute pesticide poisoning with some 3,500 deaths over the past decade – and the official figures undoubtedly underestimate the full extent of toxicity. Nevertheless, the new law will only allow a pesticide to be banned if it can be demonstrated that there exists a ‘scientifically established unacceptable risk’, an infinitely elastic proposition.

Brazil’s already low standards of pesticide protection permit the massive import of dozens of chemical products like paraquat whose use is prohibited in their countries of manufacture.

A manifesto opposing the new law has been supported by over three hundred organizations and social movements, including the IUF-affiliated CONTAG, which organizes rural workers and small farmers.

More information is available (in Spanish) on the website of the IUF Latin American regional secretariat HERE

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