Yes. The symptoms listed above (see previous question) are the acute effects of pesticides, which happen within a few hours or days after exposure to the chemicals. Pesticides can also have chronic effects, which happen over months or years. The chronic effects of these chemicals might include:
- Infertility and miscarriages, which means it is difficult for people to have babies;
- Birth defects, which means that babies are born with damage to the brain or body;
- Skin problems, such as dermatitis and eczema (dry and cracked skin);
- Damage to the nervous system, which means people suffer from headaches, poor memory, lack of coordination and sleep problems;
- Cancer, including breast or brain tumors, liver or stomach cancer, skin cancer and leukemia.
There are many reasons why people could suffer from these problems, including genetic defects, poor diet, smoking, and other kinds of pollution. Nobody knows exactly how many cases are caused by pesticides, but the Ministry of Public Health has estimated that food contamination is causing at least 50,000 cases of cancer in Thailand each year.
The report “What’s your poison?” can be downloaded from: www.ejfoundation.org