Colombia’s cotton sector shifting to transgenics


For over seven years, residents of the rural community of El Copey have had to breathe vapors wafting from 160 tons of highly toxic pesticide stored in an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of town. The chemicals, toxaphene and methyl parathion, kill such pests as the cotton boll weevil (Anthonomous grandis) and the cotton bollworm (Heliothus zea), and are considered by the World Health Organization to be among the planet’s most dangerous pesticides. Though health studies have not been done, residents blame the substances for problems ranging from itchy skin to cancer. Says El Copey Mayor Afranio Gámez: “I don’t know how much longer they’ll put up with this.” El Copey’s pesticides, deposited by a now-defunct national association of cotton growers, underscore a common... [Log in to read more]

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