Food pollution? Strange term, isn’t it? But it is present from the processes applied in agriculture and throughout the production chain. Exposure to pesticides, overuse of fertilizers and avalanche of pesticides make healthy eating impossible. Food sustainability is a model against pollution, as it not only promotes health, prevents diseases, but also carries environmental and social concerns.
Studies show that most of the pollution generated by agriculture comes from ammonia, used to make fertilizers. Until March this year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply had released 1,629 pesticides. Poisons that are not only a risk to food, but also to soil and water. In other words, environmental pollution also affects everyone’s health from what is on the plate.
Endocrinologist Frederico Rodrigues Anselmo, from Hospital Vila da Serra, warns that the indiscriminate use of agricultural pesticides is really a problem, as it involves extremely toxic substances with a real risk of causing damage to health.
“According to data from the National System of Toxic-Pharmacological Information (Sinitox), the lethality of acute poisoning by pesticides is up to three times higher when compared to drug poisoning, the main cause, in number and cases, of exogenous poisoning in Brazil.”
ORGANIC Environmental pollution, according to the specialist, not only caused by pesticides, has the potential to directly affect the food that everyone has access to on a daily basis. “Products classified as organic are certainly a way to reduce exposure to toxic substances. However, they have a higher cost and, eventually, are not available in all locations”, he comments.
Frederico Anselmo clarifies that the reduction in the use of pesticides in the production of agricultural food depends on several factors, among them scientific advances, with new cultivation techniques that demand less use of these substances and the government incentive to produce organic foods, “favoring a greater distribution, linked to a lower cost and stricter government policies regarding the importation and use of pesticides with greater toxic potential”.
KIDNEYS AND LIVER Chronic intoxication of the population by agricultural pesticides, recalls the endocrinologist, can cause damage to the brain, peripheral nervous system, liver and kidneys. “Poor packaging of some grains, such as peanuts, can trigger fungal contamination, from which the toxins produced can lead to irreversible liver damage. The use of artisanal products, which eventually do not undergo an adequate pasteurization process, can cause botulism, an extremely serious neuroparalytic disease.”
The endocrinologist makes a reservation in this discussion: “I believe that food should not be considered a villain for the environment. What has the power to become a villain is the way we produce food. With the growth of the world population, the demand for food progressively increases. Thus, new production techniques are necessary in order to provide food for all.
He attributes to the use of scientific knowledge the improvement and emergence of production techniques that are less aggressive to the environment and to human beings. “It is the path we must take to mitigate or even prevent the impact on the environment.”
Need to know…
The COVID-19 pandemic has added more urgency to the need to move away from fossil fuels, with research showing that exposure to air pollution has increased COVID-19 deaths by 15% worldwide.
Air pollution causes children to have asthma, causes pneumonia, causes pregnant women to have babies born prematurely and with more malformations.
Harvard University has revealed that fossil fuel air pollution kills many more people than previously thought, putting the total deaths at a staggering 8.7 million in 2018 alone. 7 million people died each year as a result of air pollution, mainly from non-communicable diseases.
The Brazilian Standard (NBR) 10151:2019, from the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT), establishes that noise emission in residential areas must not exceed 55 decibels (dB) during the daytime (between 7 am and 8 pm) and 50dB in the period
night (8pm to 7am)
Noise pollution is determined by article 54 of Law 9.605/1998, also called the Environmental Crimes Law. This law includes pollution of any nature that can cause damage to human or animal health, in addition to the destruction of flora.