Farmers Switched To Organic After Pesticides Made Them Or Their Families Sick
Farmers, doctors and scientists accuse that the chemicals used in agriculture are the cause of serious pathologies which are often fatal. Today, victims and their families are emerging from silence to have these new occupational diseases recognized.
Glyphosate has been the cause of a debate that has divided the member states and the farming community for many months now. After years of intensive production, these farmers decided to tell how they got sick and why they no longer use the pesticide in their fields.
While Greenpeace has presented a petition of 1.3 million signatures, the States have not yet taken a position on the possible re-certification of the world's best-selling pesticide. In addition, farmers have decided to lift the omerta and tell their painful story.
Glyphosate, a health hazard at all levels
The most widely used herbicide in the world, 8,000 tons of glyphosate are dumped in the fields. Used mainly in cereal and fruit crops, traces of the herbicide end up in crops and our plates. Classified as “probable carcinogen” by the WHO, glyphosate therefore constitutes a real danger for the health of consumers, but not the only one. Farmers in direct contact with the product are the main exposed, and the long-term consequences are very serious. As farmers can attest, glyphosate is often responsible for their cancers.
Like Dany whose years of production in intensive agriculture led him to lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system). “There is a strong suspicion that my illness was linked to my activity on the farm. Already from the 70s I worked there part time”, he explained. After defeating the disease, he radically changed his mode of production and converted to organic and short circuit.
Glyphosate, a deadly herbicide
Lately, USA gave voice to those who have suffered the adverse effects of pesticide use and mainly glyphosate on health. They are farmers, wives or children of farmers and have decided to lift the omerta on the risks run by professionals but also consumers. Marc Laloux, 79, a retired farmer, has used glyphosate for 30 years. After years of handling and breathing the product, the latter begins to complain of back pain and suffers a violent weight loss (17 kilos in four weeks). It was then in 2013 that she was diagnosed with lymphoma.
“For me, glyphosate is the direct link to the lymphoma I had to treat. Without a doubt. I say, we are on the verge of a major health scandal if we do nothing”.
Same story for a farmer, 62, who used the product for almost 18 years before switching to organic farming. In 2013, he developed a lymphoma recognized as an occupational disease. Indeed, several cases of lymphomas developed by farmers have been recognized as “occupational disease”, due to the impact of pesticides on their health. This is what the daughter of a farmer who died of lymphoma causes in 2016, says.
“In 2015 an MSA expert came to my father to ask him for the list of products he had used during his career. … It was atrazine and glyphosate that helped establish the link and assign occupational disease status”.
What is the state doing to ban glyphosate?
Deemed "probable carcinogen", the herbicide should be withdrawn from the market but how soon? That is the question.