Synthetic pesticides were adopted as a routine part of pest control in the latter half of the 20th Century. But a decade or two later the negative consequences of their widespread use started to emerge.
In this issue of Pesticides News we bring you an historical perspective on the situation in Nicaragua from the 1950s to the present day. Marianela Corriols (pages 3-6) tracks the history of pesticide use and of pesticide bans as health and environmental effects started to become apparent. Two large pesticide management projects in the 1990s generated convincing evidence of widespread poisonings and environmental harm and led to significant improvements in the regulation of pesticides. Despite these improvements Corriols believes that further changes are needed in Nicaragua to reduce reliance on pesticides and to enhance measures to protect workers’ health and the environment.
In this issue of Pesticides News Bella Whittle summarises many years of work of PAN International in documenting the global burden of pesticides on human health (pages 12-15). Despite the adoption 25 years ago of the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides pesticide poisonings continue to affect rural communities. PAN regional centres have been monitoring these impacts on communities across the globe. The work of each regional centre has now been collated and summarised in a new report Communities in Peril: Global report on health impacts of pesticide use in agriculture. This report shows that highly hazardous pesticides are still being used in unsafe conditions. Whittle has provided detailed recommendations for the pesticide, food and fibre industries.
For the past 15 years PAN UK has provided support for cotton farmers in West Africa to switch to organic production methods. But one of the main barriers is a lack of reliable, easy-to-use methods to control cotton pests. For the past few years PAN UK and their partner organisation in Benin (OBEPAB) have supported Dr Robert Mensah to develop a new pest management tool for organic cotton. Dr Mensah has developed a food spray which attracts beneficial insects to the cotton plant reducing pest damage and increasing yields. In this issue of Pesticides News we report on a week-long programme to train farmers how to use the food spray on their cotton crop (page 7).
At PAN UK we are regularly asked by journalists, researchers, developing country food companies and NGOs which pesticides are banned in Europe. The information is difficult and time-consuming to extract from EU websites. In 2007 PAN Europe produced a detailed briefing on this topic. In this issue of Pesticides News we publish an updated list of bans and restrictions and the reason for them (pages 18-22).