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Dominican coffee farmers are at risk of cancer from pesticides

In some areas of the Dominican Republic, more than 80 percent of the coffee farmers have no protection against pesticides. As a result, they have a high health risk, European researchers.

Dominican coffee farmer © Reuters

In samples from the mouth of the 38 farmers who regularly use pesticides, found a team of researchers from the Medical University of Vienna, chemicals, genetic mutations and can cause cancer. The substances may, in particular, the role of enzymes in DNA replication, involved change.

Most of the surveyed farmers use products such as glyphosate, which previous epidemiological studies in connection brought with an increased risk of non-Hodgkinlymfoom and leukemia.

On 10 August a jury ordered in San Francisco (United States) Monsanto to pay nearly 290 million dollars to a former gardener; which led to non-Hodgkinlymfoom to have sustained after years of use of a herbicide of this multinational that glyphosate contains.

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Studies indicate that users of pesticides have an increased risk of developing cancer walk.

Cancer

“Our results impressively show that exposure to a mixture of chemicals may have consequences for the long-term health’, the study in the journal Environmental Research and Public Health. “It indicates that users of pesticides have an increased risk of developing cancer.”

One of the authors, Hanns Moshammer, says that the findings are no surprise for him. It is important to pay more attention to this risk, ” he says. ‘As far as I know, is the fact that pesticides contribute to cancer are not very well established.’

The references to the relationship between pesticides in the growing of coffee and cancer by the International Agency for research on Cancer (IARC) are based mainly on experimental studies in cells and animals.

Safety measures at the workplace

The recognition of this problem could cause that more attention is paid to the compliance of safety measures at the workplace, he says.

“We are confronted with the problem of field studies in less developed areas are scarce and not very easy to perform: there is no electricity, there is no refrigerator, so there is no possibility of blood samples to save.

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In less developed areas are field studies are scarce: there is no electricity, there is no refrigerator, so there is no possibility of blood samples to save.

‘There are also no systematic registrations place, so there is no possibility of a large group of people to study, or case and control studies to perform. Therefore we have decided to set a marker for early cell damage to be analyzed on the basis of easily accessible material.’

Oral mucosa

Since 90 percent of the cancers originate in the epithelium, the dekweefsel that the body holds, they used oral mucosa to look for inhaled or ingested carcinogens. In addition, this test is inexpensive and effective on hard-to-reach places where electricity is missing to steel to save.

Agricultural Hortensia Solis, who is the first certification of CO2-neutral coffee led, agrees that there is little data available on the relationship between pesticides in the growing of coffee and cancer.

Masks and gloves

Given the results of this study should be urgently improved safety measures on the farms, ” she says. Who have direct contact with the material can occur and to a reduced use of the product lead or the replacement by a product which is not such a impact. “If the situation is serious, the authorities should consider access to these chemicals to forbid it.’

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We know that in Central and South America, many pesticides are used in large quantities, even pesticides that are banned in the US and Europe, and the employees in insufficiently protected.

“We know that in Central and South America (as well as in Asia and Africa, many pesticides are used in large quantities, even pesticides that are banned in the US and Europe, and the workers it is not adequately protected,” says Moshammer.

That is why it is so valuable that workers without masks or gloves to work early markers of cell damage can identify that are caused by toxic substances.

Organic coffee

One of the alternatives that the authors propose, is organic coffee. The main criticism of producers on this proposal is that organic coffee is not livable as they are not sure of buyers.

To as organic to be certified, the manufacturer must, for at least three years, stop the use of pesticides. During that period, without pesticides decreases the yield of the plantations, but they can be the coffee is not more expensive to sell because they do not have a certification. When she certification, finally, is the price of organic coffee is higher, and it is not always easy to those sold to get.

According to the Dominican Coffee institute, the country is all imported plants that are resistant to koffieroest. In this way, the use of pesticides is reduced.

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