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  • A worker sprays chemicals at a farm in Brazil

    A worker sprays chemicals at a farm in Brazil's Ceara state. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 August 2018

“The presence of glyphosate in breast milk indicates direct contamination by this agro-toxin," said researcher Inacio Pereira Lima.

Over 80 percent of breast milk samples examined in a recent study in Urucui, Brazil were found to contain agro-toxins. According to the study undertaken by Inacio Pereira Lima, a master's student in Women's Health at the Federal University of Piaui's (UFPI) Center of Health and Sciences, 83.4 percent of the breast milk samples were found to contain glyphosate or aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) or both substances.

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“The presence of glyphosate in breast milk indicates direct contamination by this agro-toxin or that the quantities utilized in agricultural activity in the region must be so high that the plant metabolism or microbiology did not degrade the excess,” Pereira Lima explained. “Nearby regions where agricultural activity is not present, we suspect that agro-toxins have contaminated the water.”

The samples were obtained from the maternity ward at the Dirceu Arcoverde Regional Hospital (HRDA) in the municipality of Urucui, located 450 kilometers from the capital city Teresina. It is the largest producer of soya in the state, and its crops are sprayed with large quantities of agro-toxins, according to Pragmatismo Politico

In 2016, a total of 10.1 million kilos were consumed in the state. It is the equivalent of 3.18 kilos per person, a percentage that is comparable to the national average.

Surprisingly, the same contamination level was detected in the municipality of Oeiras, roughly 750 kilometers from the Urucui, where agricultural activity is the least in the state.

With a 20 percent stake in world's total consumption since 2008,  Brazil has become the primary consumer of pesticides on the planet, a new study has revealed. 

The pesticide use not only impacts the large-scale agricultural food production but has also been linked to a high number of deaths each year.

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Brazil Health

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