Society

Health fears abound after Brazil clears 500 pesticides in 2021

A spike in kidney failure-related deaths shows that more data transparency and public policies on pesticide use are needed in Brazil

Brazil cleared 500 new pesticides last year. Photo: Adriano Kirihara/Shutterstock
Brazil cleared 500 new pesticides last year. Photo: Adriano Kirihara/Shutterstock

Brazil is one of the world’s largest markets for pesticides, but never before has the country approved the use of so many substances as it has during the four years of President Jair Bolsonaro’s government. As many of the new substances are banned in the U.S. and European Union, the trend raises concerns about unchecked human health and environmental impacts for rural communities. 

In 2021 alone, 500 active pesticides were approved for use in the country — 1.4 percent more than the previous year. Of those 500, 120 have been found to pose potential health risks to health and the...

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