The alleged poisoning suffered by several families in the neighborhood of the town of Angel Etcheverry “El Toboso”, which, although its source has not yet been identified, the strongest hypothesis is that of an expansion of agrochemical substances, product of horticultural activity, questioned the periodic intervention of state agencies that control the management of pesticides, since, it is known, none are harmless to the human population.
This episode, which put on alert a large area of villages around 39 between 213 bis and 214, triggered a strong operation to assist people who felt the effects of intoxication: stomach upsets and breathing difficulties. Neighbors reported having detected “a very intense odor” as a possible reason for the physical discomfort. Civil Defense and Ecological Police officers worked at the site to determine the causes of the environmental contamination.
One of the region’s leading producers, Salvador Vides, stated that two chemicals are currently used to combat the “great ghost” of horticultural activity: nematodes, a kind of microworms that end up devouring plants. “They attack the roots and we lose the entire production – explained Lisandro Olmos, a farmer – and so that this does not happen, we use substances that are a little more benevolent than others that were used years ago and that were prohibited, precisely, because they are harmful to health” .
Vides pointed out that one of the most frequent ways of applying fungicides and herbicides that are usually deposited on the ground, usually in April, when the soil begins to be moved for planting, is through an irrigation system. The key to preventing the product from advancing above the atmosphere is the coverage of the greenhouses, which must be made with a nylon of a specific thickness and taking care that it remains fixed. “Sometimes, if you are not very careful, it can rise or crack and thus a leak occurs”, he indicated while stressing that “you have to be attentive to these details”.
It is not usual for producers to receive inspection controls on the use of agrochemicals (“it would be impossible to inspect all horticultural projects,” Vides clarified), but they do receive regular training and training workshops by organizations such as INTA, the Senasa, the Faculty of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences of the UNLP, and the Ministry of Agrarian Development.
THE DIA consulted the Municipality about the intervention of the local administration in the control of the management of pesticides in the cultivated areas of the City. “The authority for the application of the Agrochemicals Law is the Ministry of Agrarian Development of the Province,” responded sources from the Commune, while pointing out: “the Municipality only keeps a record of the producers and only intervenes when there may be a risk health as it happened with this case “.
Viviana Di Marzio, director of Agricultural, Food and Natural Resources Supervision of the provincial portfolio of Agrarian Development, confirmed that the regulation on the use of agrochemicals and fertilizers is expressed in Buenos Aires law 10,699 and its regulatory decree 499/91. “The regulation is clear in the sense that it indicates the practice of both aerial and terrestrial application and obliges producers to deal with recipes prepared by agronomists, as well as indicating the operating conditions of the companies that sell the products and application,” said the official.
There are three control mechanisms to which the agrarian portfolio is adjusted. “One of those is the obligation to tell who applies the product with the agronomic recipe, which since 2019 increased its emission by 207 percent, which speaks of greater control; the other is through complaints of improper use of agrochemicals, for which exclusions from areas close to urban areas are determined; and in addition, we carry out random inspections by presenting ourselves at the companies that sell the products, we ask for the purchase documents and then we go to the fields where they were purchased and verify that they also have the documentation that supports the use of agrochemicals”, explained Di Marzio .