£100 billion pesticide industry has deadly human impacts

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By Andrea Barolini
The lucrative pesticide industry now sits in the hands of four industry giants who conceal results of toxicity tests on their products and bypass several European restrictions.
The global consumption of pesticides, weedkillers and fungicides has surged in the last few decades, seeing an increase of 80 per cent between 1990 and 2017.
Today, four million tonnes of pesticides are used per year. Half are weedkillers and 30 per cent are insecticides. Whilst some insects harm crops, others are essential for pollination.
Meanwhile, fungicides represent approximately 17 per cent of total pesticide use and are often used unnecessarily and dangerously. Most fungi are essential to crop production, the conservation of eco-systems and protecting biodiversity.
The pesticides market is extremely lucrative. In 2019, turnover hit $84.5 billion (£66.9 billion), with an annual growth rate of 4 per cent from 2015. But this year, a huge leap is expected, with turnover projected to exceed $130 billion (£103 billion).
That will primarily benefit four mega corporations: Switzerland’s Syngenta, Germany’s Bayer and BASF, and America’s Corteva (born from the fusion of Dow Chemicals and Dupont). A few years ago, Bayer also purchased America’s Monsanto, which produces Roundup, a weedkiller containing glyphosate, which has been the subject of thousands of legal proceedings in the US.

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