The shady business of pesticides – Europe’s poisonous export | DW Documentary

This documentary investigates the shady business of pesticides. Many pesticides that are banned in Europe are exported to nations where their use is permitted, despite their toxicity. First and foremost, they are exported to Brazil.

From here, the toxic residues are sent back to Europe in oranges, coffee and soya products. And nothing is being done to stop it. Why does the EU continue to allow the lucrative export of banned pesticides from Europe to emerging economies?

The documentary explores a little-known commercial cycle: Germany, a nation increasingly opposed to environmental toxins, is still the leading importer of Brazilian coffee with significant pesticide residues. Across Europe people drink orange juice that’s been made from heavily polluted fruit from Brazil. And those responsible for spraying the crops in South America pay a very high price when it comes to their health. European heads of state are only too happy to criticize Brazil for logging in the Amazon, but they prudently look the other way when their countries’ chemical companies are doing good business there.

More than half of all the pesticides most recently introduced to the Brazilian market are deemed to be so detrimental to public health and the environment that they are banned in the EU. These products — which are both made in Europe, and prohibited from use, there — are gratefully received in the southern hemisphere. The Swiss NGO Public Eye says that European pesticide manufacturers are making almost half their income selling highly hazardous products to developing and emerging nations.

The documentary film shows that European policymakers are doing virtually nothing to address this issue. Border checks are rare, legislation allows for chemical residues in foodstuffs and above all, economic actors are keen to maintain the status quo.

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