Statement from the 1st National Meeting of Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns

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We, members of health teams from the Crop-Sprayed Towns of Argentina, together with scientists, researchers and scholars summoned by the Faculty of Medical Sciences in this  National University of Cordoba, in the same manner as the students from the Argentine University Reform of 1918, feel compelled to name all things by their names, and thus declare:

As the inhabitants from Crop-Sprayed Towns have been stating for several years, the health risks to the population from areas subjected to the constant sprayings in Argentina are considerable, and this situation worsens every day.

That serious illnesses such as cancers, miscarriages, fertility problems and congenital birth defects are on the rise. That respiratory, endocrine, neurological, hematological, and psychical disorders, are also more frequent among populations systematically fumigated as a part of the current agro-industrial production model.

That this situation was first observed with the implementation of the agro-productive practice including the massive usage of chemical pesticides.

That the use of pesticides is increasing every year, and that pesticide consumption in 14 years grew by almost 1000 %.

That the inhabitants from Crop-Sprayed Towns (twelve million people) are directly affected by these poisonous substances which are sprayed over their houses by planes, or over the  lands reaching up to the limits of their houses and towns.

That this observed phenomenon has been repeated in every province where this type of production practice is carried out.

That research data, peer-reviewed and published in international scientific magazines, based on experimental models with various pesticides, including Glyphosate, establish a strong correlation that would explain the biological causality of the clinical manifestations that we observe on our patients.

That systematic revision of clinical and epidemiological observation studies, well constructed, shows evidence that is strong and consistent enough to recognize that exposure to pesticides increases the risk of health problems through a broad range of exposure situations in vulnerable populations.

That it is urgent that we make progress towards restricting the use of pesticides, because within a few months, the population from Crop-Sprayed Towns in Argentina is going to be poisoned massively once again.

That the application of the PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE, established in the General Environmental Law No 25675, Art 4.º, is required, and that this Principle states that: if there is a risk of serious or irreversible damage, the absence of information or scientific consensus should not be used as a reason for delaying the adoption of efficient, cost-effective measures in order to avoid environmental degradation.

We require that the President of the Nation, the Minister of Health and the Minister of the Interior protect the health and lives of the population living in Crop-Sprayed Towns, and IMMEDIATELY BAN all aerial sprayings in the country, just as the European Union has established, and that all land sprayings be restricted and carried out further away from the limits of urban areas.

We urge the Congress to pass laws banning all aerial sprayings throughout the country, that land sprayings be carried out away from populated areas, and that illegal sprayings be considered crimes against Health and the Environment.

We invite all Faculties of Medical Sciences in the country, as well as all State Universities, to join us in defending the right to life, to health, to a healthy environment, and to demand that urgent action be taken regarding the measures we’ve been asking for; we also request that research and outreach programs are promoted that support the resolution of this problem, and that environmental health contents are created at different educational stages.

We believe that, as well as stopping all sprayings, we need to question the current agro-industrial and transgenic production model, and to find systems that allow for social and cultural integration, and the defense and the reproduction of a healthy ecological environment.

Lastly, we invite all the members of health teams, students, people from crop-sprayed towns, and all those who understand that in this democracy we need to make sure that values such as Health and the Environment, have precedence over economic and business interests from large companies and corporations such as Monsanto, or other sowing pools, to generate  pinions defending the health of Crop-Sprayed Towns, and to participate in the University Network of Environment and Health that is thus established.

Cordoba, August 27 2010

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