|DominicanToday.com - Dominican farms still use highly toxic pesticides, says the Report of Pesticide Evaluation and Plan of Action for their Safe Use, of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Whereas Europe allows from 300 to 400 pesticides, Dominican Republic has a list of 3,122 approved for import and use in the country, and included in the evaluation, carried out from July 2008 to October 2009.
With 425 active ingredients on the list in 2007 Dominican Republic, stands out as being ranked fourth in the number of fruit and vegetable shipments halted by the U.S. for pesticide residues, while the European Union harshened its import requirements.
The report says despite the country’s improvement regarding international requirements its pesticide risk profile is still high. "Most of the farm supply stores visited had no more than 50 to 60 pesticide products on sale, more than half were green band product (less toxic), 10% were blue band (a bit more toxic), 10% were red band (extremely toxic) and around a quarter were yellow band (highly toxic)."
The USAID analysis also notes that the low education levels of many farmers, Haitians among them, hinders their being trained in the correct use of pesticides which makes it difficult to read labels, apply the product and use suitable protective equipment. “A Haitian was observed in a pineapple farm applying a mixture of micronutrients and Dimethoate (a widely used organophosphate insecticide, class II toxin), without appropriate safety equipment. After the application he came in for lunch without washing up."
The study, which focused on harvests of cacao, coffee, fresh fruits and Oriental vegetables, oregano, cassava and casaba, said the consequences from the use of toxic pesticides includes health risks for the consumers, including cancer. Thee use of weed killers can also increase the risks to the underground water supply.