Friday 19 October 2018
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Brazil: Pesticide Poisonings in Rural Areas

Launch Gallery Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “We’ve registered several complaints at the [local] civil police station and military police,” he said. “No one solves it—there is no justice.” © 2018 Marizilda Cruppé for Human Rights Watch (São Paulo) – Rural residents are being poisoned in Brazil from pesticides sprayed near their homes, schools, and workplaces, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Many rural communities fear reprisals from wealthy and politically powerful farmers if they denounce such poisonings or advocate more protective laws and regulations. The 50-page report, “‘You Don’t Want to Breathe Poison Anymore’: The Failing Response to Pesticide Drift in Brazil’s Rural Communities,” documents cases of acute poisoning from pesticide drift in seven sites, located across Brazil, including farming communities, indigenous communities, quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) communities, and rural schools. Exposure occurs when pesticide spray drifts off target during application, or when pesticides vaporize and drift to adjacent areas in the days after spraying. Of the 10 most widely used pesticides in Brazil in 2016, four are not authorized for use in Europe, indicating how hazardous other governments consider some of them. “Pesticides sprayed on large plantations poison children in their classrooms and villagers in their backyards all across rural Brazil,” said Richard Pearshouse, associate environment and human rights director at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “The Brazilian authorities need to stop this toxic exposure and ensure the safety of those who speak out against the harm the

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