The new report is strongly critical of the corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of unethical marketing, systematic denials of harm and lobbying governments to prevent regulations against chemical usage. It describes catastrophic effects on the environment, human health and society, including 200,000 deaths a year from acute poisoning. "Acute" does not include whatever chronic illnesses that pesticides and other agricultural chemicals may cause.
|Organic farmland growth, 2000-8.|
Some of the diseases belong to one of our biggest killers: cancer. Multiple studies have shown that pesticide exposure, whether at home or after parental exposure at work, is linked with an up to three, even four or six, times increased risk of childhood leukaemia. For brain cancer, exposure during pregnancy has been linked with the greatest increased risks, as well as home and garden use. There is also some evidence linking pesticide use to other childhood cancers such as Wilm's tumour, retinoblastoma (eye cancer), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and neuroblastoma.
Fortunately, organic agriculture is more popular than ever. In 2015, the number of organic farmers stood at 2.4 million, up by 7.2% from 2014. Organic farmland was up to 50.9 million hectares, up by 14.7% from 2014. The highest market share was Denmark, at 8.4%, while Australia has the most organic farmland at 22.7 million hectares (as we are a quite arid country, the quality may not be as high as in other regions). India has more than half a million organic farmers, the most of any country, with Ethiopia and Mexico following at over 200,000 each.