Peru: Widespread poisonings linked to pesticides

August 22 , 2018

There has been a series of poisonings linked to pesticides in Peru over recent weeks, with the government coming under pressure to act.

In the northern Piura region, 76 workers from a company called Natucultura were poisoned earlier this month after inhaling Malathion, an agrochemical used to kill pests in tomato plants, according to Agronegocios Perú.

A few days before that, at least 11 people died in the southeastern Paucar de Sara Sara Province, reportedly from consuming pesticides found in meat.

Separately, in the northern Ancash region, 40 people were poisoned, one of whom died. Authorities believe the poisonings were related to contaminated corn used to make an alcoholic beverage.

“Every year … people die or are hospitalized by such intoxications, and there is no effective control in the marketing and sale of these products,” said Congresswoman María Elena Foronda.

She urged Agriculture Minister Gustavo Mostajo to clarify the situation and tighten controls on the use of agrochemicals in crops.

According to Jaime Delgado of the Consumer Protection Association, “up to 60 agrochemicals are used that are not authorized for crops”.

“It has been discovered, in the samples analyzed in the laboratory, that many products contain unauthorized agrochemicals or in upper limits, 48.8% of tangerines, 22.4% of oranges, 68.9% of grapes, 55% of the tomatoes, etcetera,” he was quoted as saying.

According to the Peruvian National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Control of Diseases, from January until the end of July there were 1,106 ‘acute pesticide poisonings’ and twenty deaths recorded in the country, according to local media El Comercio.

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