Brazil adopts new labeling system for pesticides
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil on Monday adopted a new system for classifying and labeling the vast quantities of pesticides it produces, based on the chemicals they contain.
Environmental experts welcomed the modernization of the system, used by over 50 countries, but said it was insufficient as it does not take into account the long-term effects of certain residues known to cause cancer.
Joao Paulo Torres, a professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, said the new classification and labeling system will not advance the larger debate ongoing in Brazil about the country’s use of highly toxic products to sustain its agriculture, some of which are banned in other countries.
The system looks at the immediate impact of chemicals on people’s health instead of “chronic intoxication,” linked to the long-term impact of toxic residue in food or the environment.
A director at the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency, Renato Porto, told The Associated Press the new system focused on providing better information to the primary users of pesticides, or rural workers, not consumers.
According to Human Rights Watch, Brazil is one of the world’s largest consumers of pesticides. So far this year, Brazil has approved hundreds of new pesticides.