September 6, 2002 - According to the St. Petersburg Times, the chemical mix supplied by the United States to wipe out drug crops in Colombia is potentially harmful to humans and the environment, according to a government report released September 5, 2002. After previously defending its use of glyphosate (RoundUp), the State Department now says it plans to switch to a less toxic formulation. The report by the Environmental Protection Agency was requested by Congress as part of an effort to determine the safety of the U.S.-financed crop eradication program. Critics of U.S. counter-drug policy in Colombia have raised concerns that the chemical mix being used was not properly tested. Reports from Colombia have also indicated that the spraying caused skin rashes and other ailments in populated areas, as well as contamination of water and the loss of legal crops.
This Columbian farmer (above) is devastated because his peanut crops were destroyed by the fumigation. Many families in southern Colombia manually eradicated their coca crops and replaced them with legitimate crops. With the new crops destroyed, many believe they may begin re-growing coca.
Bananas destroyed by the fumigation. Many people in the area are facing imminent hunger because their subsistence crops have been destroyed. Pastures, homes, and yards were sprayed. This is also in violation of Colombian Law 005.
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