The total (100%) of Argentinean participants in international research on pesticides "presented a range of 6 to 13 pesticides in urine, a range of 2 to 10 pesticides in blood and a range of 0 to 18 pesticides in faecal matter". The problem includes people who live far away from the spraying, which is why these pesticides were considered "ubiquitous". The poisons were also found in food, household dust, crop grains, animals, animal feed, soil and water.
By Anabel Pomar
In a virtual conference from New York for more than 3 hours, the SPRINT project revealed on Wednesday 27th - Environmental Health Day - the results of the study carried out in Europe and in the province of Buenos Aires (as the main exporter of soybeans for animal feed).
Among the poisons detected are obviously glyphosate (genotoxic and probable carcinogen) and chlorpyrifos (which despite being banned in Argentina is still sold even in supermarkets). The report also points to "cocktails", which mix chemicals to increase the potency of each poison, bringing together up to 120 pesticides.
The management of INTA prohibited Dr. Virgina Aparicio (who was part of the research) from participating in any current stage of the project and from speaking to the press, given that this is a public health issue.
Some of the data that, despite the silence and the official gagging, were revealed in the framework of the Scientific
Summit of the United Nations General Assembly:
On the day of the celebration of Environmental Health Day, Wednesday 27 September, in New York, USA, in the framework of the Scientific Summit of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) for the first time for large audiences could be known part of the results of the European project SPRINT (Sustainable Plant Protection Transition: A Global Health Approach 2020/2025).
What is SPRINT? It is a project funded by the European Union (EU) that seeks to identify pesticide residues in ecosystems and in humans, and to analyse the danger of synergism (the combination or mixing) between the pesticides found. The latter, something never considered when approving these dangerous poisons on the market, neither in the so-called "old continent", nor in our country.
In 2021, the sampling in the framework of this project, in addition to being carried out in the 10 participating European countries, was extended to the province of Buenos Aires.
Why was our country included? Because it is the main exporter of soya for animal feed to the European market.
Among the main conclusions of this Wednesday's event in NY, the voices of experts and academics participating in the project could be heard. They told, based on rigorous information, how the toxic agro-chemicals used in poison-dependent agriculture are contaminating everything. Bodies, food and environments. One of the most repeated words in the presentations was "omnipresent". Pesticides are everywhere: even where they are not used.
Among the tables with hundreds of names of chemical molecules used in agriculture, some of the most sprayed pesticides in our country stand out. The herbicide glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA are at the top of the list. And for the samples taken in Argentina, in quantities up to three times higher in some matrices. Also, chlorpyrifos, recently banned in the country but which can still be bought on any supermarket shelf in the insecticide section.
The timing of the presentation is important because on 13 October the European Union will have to vote on whether to re-authorise the use of glyphosate. The SPRINT coordination team assured that the information - which has already been presented to the European Parliament - will be published and distributed to the general public as soon as possible in order to achieve a wider dissemination. They also said they hope that these results will prevent the renewal of the dangerous herbicide.
Seeing the presentation of these studies backing up a claim that shows the magnitude of the harm is shocking. Even people who consume or produce food without using pesticides have contaminated bodies. And those who eat pesticide-free food, too. The full picture shows that environmental exposure reaches everyone, not just those who produce with poisons or live in rural areas. And through all routes of exposure.
Pesticide results in urine samples.
As an example, we can mention what was found by measuring household dust, presented by Daniel M. Figueiredo of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. The results indicate that pesticides have an impact on organisms more through the environment than through the diet itself: they are also a direct route of exposure. The most detected is glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA, in a cocktail of hazardous chemicals ranging from 25 to 120 pesticides.
Another constant: agrochemical cocktails. There is not just one substance but tens or hundreds, mixed together to increase the potency of the poison. In the case presented, they have an impact on both conventional and organic neighbours.
The results show that the genotoxic and probably carcinogenic herbicide is present in urine in 86.1% of the Argentines sampled and in 35.2% of the Europeans, while when analysing human faeces, the pesticide is detected in 70.5% of the people living in Europe and in 100% of the people from Buenos Aires.
In the case of chlorpyrifos, 3.7% of Europeans have this toxic substance in their faeces, while in Argentina the figure rises to 37.7%. Once again, we are champions, this time of another toxic podium.
In the virtual conference - all in English - which lasted three hours and was attended by Lavaca and about a hundred people connected from different parts of the world, the researcher in charge of the project in Argentina, Dr. Virginia Aparicio, was not present.
Lavaca asked the INTA researcher why she was absent, which did not go unnoticed by the ten or so people connected from Argentina. Aparicio is not authorised by direct order of the management of this state body to participate in any instance of SPRINT, nor to speak to the press.
Lavaca contacted INTA (partner number 16 identified as CSS11-Buenos Aires within the SPRINT project) but again, as has been the case for months, there was no official response.
The public body has prevented the results of the sampling in our country from being disseminated to this day. In July of this year, despite this official censorship, the cow was able to know the results of this sampling in the territory and population of Buenos Aires and to publish them.
Seventy-three people participated in the sampling in Argentina. Of the 73, 1/3 were consumers, 1/3 inhabitants of small towns and "neighbours of producers". And 1/3 agricultural producers of which half use pesticides and half work agroecologically. Monitoring was also included in 14 rural establishments. Tests were taken in environment, food, grain and biological samples in animals.
"The total of Argentinean participants presented a range of 6 to 13 pesticides in urine, a range of 2 to 10 pesticides in blood and a range of 0 to 18 pesticides in faecal matter" is one of the revelations of the research.
In the environments in which these people move on a daily basis, "the total number of Argentinean participants presented a range of 7 to 53 pesticides in the detection bracelets".
In the preliminary considerations of these personal studies that transcended, it is stated: "Pesticide residue mixtures are present in human bodies. People are exposed to pesticides in their daily lives (data from wristbands). Most of the residues are hazardous to the ecosystem and humans".
In food, "the total of Argentinean participants presented a range of 6 to 22 pesticides in the food sample".
In household dust, in "the total number of samples analysed in Argentina showed a range of 43 to 86 pesticides in household dust".
In crop grains, in "the total of samples analysed in Argentina showed a range of 0 to 8 pesticides in grains".
In animals, in "the total number of animals analysed in Argentina showed a range of 1 to 12 pesticides in urine, a range of 0 to 16 pesticides in faecal matter". (Pesticides in blood are still pending).
In animal feed, "a range of 5 to 25 pesticides in animal feed".
In soils, "the total of samples analysed in Argentina showed a range of 0 to 12 pesticides in soil".
Surface water (in the SPRINT work area) in "the total number of samples analysed showed a range of 10 to 28 pesticides in surface water".