Faces of those affected

Pesticide Portraits

Ada Cristina Pontes Aguiar

Medical researcher

03 / 04

The health of millions of Brazilians at stake

In conducting many studies, the researcher Ada Cristina Pontes Aguiar has established a clear link between exposure to pesticides and chronic diseases, such as cancer, and birth defects. These chemicals also end up in Brazil’s drinking water. We painted Ada Cristina using this contaminated water, to highlight the problem.

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Ceará Brazil

The Swiss government takes care of the health, environmental protection and human rights of its people. Yet, at the same time, it accepts that a Swiss company earns millions at the expense of the Brazilian people. Ada Cristina researches the health impact of pesticides at the University of Ceará. She is convinced that “today, every single person in Brazil is exposed to pesticides in one way or another”.

“Syngenta earns billions at the expense of people’s suffering”

Ada Cristina Pontes Aguiar Medical researcher

Ada Cristina believes that we need to take a holistic view – rather than focusing on short-term profit – to change this situation. She considers the use of pesticides in Brazil to be a “serious public health issue”. She therefore advocates for more research into the health impact of highly hazardous pesticides. This is the only way, she believes, to make governments and companies realize that the production of highly hazardous pesticides needs to be halted.

Syngenta, no to highly hazardous pesticides!

Syngenta makes nearly CHF 4 billion annually selling ‘highly hazardous’ pesticides (according to the list produced by the international Pesticide Action Network). This toxic but very lucrative business is at the core of the Swiss giant’s business model.

Highly hazardous pesticides endanger millions of people in developing and emerging countries. Syngenta takes advantage of weak regulations in countries like Brazil or India to sell pesticides banned in Switzerland due to their effects on human health or the environment. In India, thousands of farmers are poisoned every year. In Brazil, millions are exposed to a toxic cocktail of pesticides in drinking water.

Highly hazardous pesticides are a ticking time-bomb. More and more studies show a link between exposure to pesticides and a rise in cases of cancer, Parkinson’s disease or congenital malformations.

We call on Syngenta, global leader in this irresponsible business, to stop making profits at the expense of the health of millions of people. Syngenta must stop producing and selling highly hazardous pesticides.

The petition was signed by almost 38,000 people. It was presented to Syngenta on August 22, 2019 at the Syngenta headquarters in Basel.