The use of pesticides in Brazil and the risks linked to human health / O uso de pesticidas no Brasil e os riscos associados à saúde humana


  • Aline Nunes
  • Caroline Schmitz
  • Sidnei Moura
  • Marcelo Maraschin



toxicology, food security, contamination, exposure.


The increased demand for food has intensified large-scale production systems, mainly represented by monocultures that encourage the indiscriminate use of pesticides. These products have been considered a public health concern around the world, being responsible for environmental and food contamination, which lead to risks to human health. Globally, one can note a discrepancy in the regulation of these chemicals among countries, with a wide range of maximum accepted levels of contaminants depending on the country. In Brazil, agriculture has been the main economic activity over centuries, which have led commonly to the use of huge amounts of pesticides, i.e., ~ 620,000 tons pesticides in 2019. This study aims at to discuss the regulatory differences in Brazil vis-à-vis in respecting to other countries and correlating them with the worsening of the public health status due to the risk of developing acute and chronic diseases. The scenario that come out from the analysis of the ongoing Brazilian legislation on pesticide registration and commercialization suggests that it is quite lesser restrictive than noted, for instance, in the European Union. Thus, a series of urgent and harmonized efforts are required to mitigate the ongoing risk to human health resulting from the increasing amounts of pesticides used in Brazil, as result of an erroneous policy carried out by the Federal government. Among other actions, firstly it is urgent to restructure the laws and regulations on the release and use of pesticides in the country. In addition, policies directed towards sustainable production systems must be foster and strengthened, providing adequate food to consumers and improving the lives of rural workers, as well as reducing the risk of environmental contamination of soil and water. Finally, it has been assumed that only when a more rational and environmental-friendly legislation replaces the current set of rules on pesticide release and usage, along with the adoption of agroecological production systems of biomasses coupled to public campaigns for information of the society as a whole, it will be possible to reduce the risks to the human health caused by the overuse of pesticides.


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How to Cite

Nunes, A., Schmitz, C., Moura, S., & Maraschin, M. (2021). The use of pesticides in Brazil and the risks linked to human health / O uso de pesticidas no Brasil e os riscos associados à saúde humana. Brazilian Journal of Development, 7(4), 37885–37904.



Original Papers