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12 October 2005 | Printer friendly

Pesticides in Andalucia

25% of the pesticides used in Spain can be found in Andalucia. In 2004, ISTAS (Instituto Sindical de Trabajo, Ambiente y Salud), the labour institute for environment and health under the trade union CCOO (Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras) from Andalucía organised a suvey among the workers in green-houses. According to the study, only 48% of the surveyed workers had received information about the risks involved in the handling of pesticides.

The survey also highlighted the presence of pesticide and pesticide residues in the surroundings of the green-houses, namely in the water, air, soil, produce and plastic waste. 42% of the pesticides utilised in the green-houses were hormone disrupting chemicals and/or persistent and bioaccumulative. Almost 27% of the pesticides found and analysed by the scientific studies that were the basis of the study were not on the market or were in the process of being removed from the market by their harmful effects in the human health and the environment.

In 2002, the System for Epidemiological Surveillance in Andalucía (Sistema de Vigilancia Epidemiológica de Andalucía) registered 118 cases of acute intoxications caused by pesticides, where 98 occurred within an occupational background.

In another study published by the Public Health Agency from Barcelona it was found that during 1998-2003 10% of all agricultural products analysed were contaminated by pesticide residues. In particular, 28% of the fruits; 20% of the cereals and 7% of vegetables were contaminated. Although they did not exceed Maximum Residue Levels, concerns were raised by the presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals like malathion, procymidone, dimethoate, fenitrothion, diazinon, imazalil and esfenvalerate.

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