Argentines Say Agrochemicals Causing Birth Defects, Cancer
In one town, 80% of kids have pesticides in their blood
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2013 5:31 PM CDT
Aixa Cano, 5, who has hairy moles all over her body that doctors can't explain.   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

(Newser) – Argentina is the third-largest soybean producer in the world, and also grows a lot of cotton and corn. Nearly all of it is now genetically modified, since Monsanto convinced farmers to switch to its seeds and chemicals in 1996. But the agrochemicals the country's farmers use to keep up with demand, and fight off resistant pests could be making the country seriously sick, an investigation by the AP has found. In some areas where the chemicals are used, birth defects and cancer rates have spiked up to four times the national average. Though the chemicals are said to be safe when used properly, the people handling them often have no training or the right protective equipment.

"I prepared millions of liters of poison without any kind of protection, no gloves, masks or special clothing," says one farmer, now near-death due to a neurological disorder. "I didn't know anything. I only learned later what it did to me, after contacting scientists." Argentine farmers use twice as much pesticide per acre as US farmers, and often spray close to homes, despite bans on doing so. A study in one area found high levels of agrochemical contamination in the soil and drinking water, and 80% of the local kids had traces of pesticides in their blood. Of course, it's nearly impossible to prove a link between the chemicals and individual's diseases, but doctors are calling on the government to open an investigation. Click to read the full report here or just the main finding here.

View 5 more images
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Argentines Say Agrochemicals Causing Birth Defects, Cancer is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 63 comments
Oct 21, 2013 9:23 AM CDT
We're killing ourselves to live.
Oct 21, 2013 8:14 AM CDT
Why are they so intent on killing us off? Population control is a hot topic amongst the world's elites.
Oct 21, 2013 4:47 AM CDT
First of all the belief that we do not already grow enough food to feed everyone on the planet is a myth propagated by organizations like Monsanto so that they can justify their actions. There are 2 FACTUAL reasons why people starve on this planet: 1. Political will is lacking - Politicians do not care of people starve to death as long as you're not one of their voting constituents. 2. Distribution – it is expensive and dangerous to move the food from where it is grown to where it is needed. Starving people most often live in countries which are either politically unstable or already undergoing nation-wide violence to the point where it is next-to-impossible to distribute the food to those who need it. Second GMO depletes the diversity of DNA for differentiated plant growth – thereby increasing the chances for famine on a scale never before seen. Third – Monsanto owns the patent on their seeds – and have successfully sued farmers who have resisted using their seeds, who have had their crops cross-contaminated by blow-over from other farms, who have used Monsanto seeds and then tried to change back to non GMO seeds in following years because the GMO seeds have proven to grow poorer quality crops and when fed to pigs have caused disease and resulted in stunted growth. Monsanto has successfully put REAL farmers out of business by having the courts force farmers to use Monsanto seeds and pay Monsanto for contaminated crops. Fourth Monsanto REFUSES to allow outside testing of GMO seeds or foods, even by the FDA, to determine the truth of whether or not there are side effects from GMO foods. They have successfully intimidated the scientific community where ONLY a few OUTSIDE of the United States have dared to ignore them and do testing. Finally, GMOs do NOT increase harvests, they do NOT allow crops to grow with less water and they do NOT eliminate the need for using pesticides … if it did then please explain why MONSANTO continues to make THE MOST POWERFUL of the pesticides and herbicides on the market today - in greater quantity than ever before. This has all been said before and I am probably dreaming that ANY of you will do your own research to verify any of these claim. Feel free to keep eating their crap and swallowing their lies. Me – I'll just await the opportunity to find any of these evil bastards in my cross-hairs.