Imagine discovering a product that you've been using is causing serious damage to your health and the environment. But instead of safely disposing of that toxic product, you decide to go next door and sell it to your neighbor. Hard to imagine, right? This scenario isn't entirely unimaginable. In the United States, once a pesticide is pulled off the market because it is shown to have dangerous effects on peoples' health and the environment, we allow corporations to continue manufacturing and exporting that pesticide to other countries -- even just a few feet across our borders.
Who gets affected most by this U.S. policy? Those living in the Global South who are applying these banned and unregistered pesticides and suffering serious health effects as a result. Countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America use 25% of the world's pesticides, yet account for 99% of deaths caused by these toxins. Some 25 million farmers and agricultural workers across the globe are poisoned by pesticides each year, and poorly educated and impoverished laborers are most at risk, often applying pesticides without any training or protective clothing.
While those applying and being exposed to these toxic pesticides face the most serious harm, this issue also affects everyone across the world, as national borders mean nothing to pesticides. Millions of barrels of pesticides travel the global marketplace and re-circulate as residue on food and fiber, as well as contaminants in global air and water currents. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates that in 2010, almost 50% of fresh fruits and 25% of fresh vegetables consumed in the U.S. were grown overseas, yet the Food and Drug Administration currently inspects less than 1% of imports. Although the use of certain pesticides within U.S. borders is banned, these toxins may be coming back to us, in what is called the "circle of poison."
A new documentary film in the making, Toxic Profits, will highlight the lives of those being most severely affected by this U.S. policy and it will document alternative, sustainable farming solutions to corporate-controlled, pesticide-intensive agriculture. Because the global pesticide market is increasing by billions of dollars every year, the film will highlight alternative farming methods that have proven more effective and even more profitable than the industry standard. You can watch a trailer for the film on Kickstarter here: http://kck.st/NnkagZ.