Image Union, episode 0218: Cost Of Cotton

Image Union episode featuring "Cost of Cotton" by Luis Argueta and David Temple. Documentary about the negative impact of cotton farming in Guatemala. The main focus is on the use of dangerous pesticides, specifically DDT

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0:45Copy video clip URL Cost of Cotton by Luis Argueta and David Temple. Color film. Documentary about the negative impact of cotton farming in Guatemala. The main focus is on the use of dangerous pesticides, specifically DDT. Farmers are forced to use these pesticides to maintain their level of output, but they are not only harming the workers, they also cost nearly half the operating budget of these farms. Local farmers are reluctant to use new methods of pest control that are safer and more effective because they are terrified of losing a year’s crop with an untested method and because they are manipulated by constant streams of propaganda from the pesticide industry. These companies that claim that the pesticides are not harmful do not take into account the fact that the workers do not and cannot obey the safety guidelines. The pesticides are extremely dangerous because they spread so far from the target area, even into the food and water supplies. Since the workers tend to live in camps between cotton fields, there is almost no way for them to avoid it. The levels of DDT found in mother’s milk in Guatemala is the highest in the western world. In spite of the U.S. ban on DDT, American companies still produce the chemical for export to foreign countries. Ironically, this chemical is returning to the U.S. in Guatemalan meat, for which inspections are lax. In response to environmentalists, farmers argue that they are not the criminals, the problem is actually the American and European countries who use third world industry as a dumping ground for chemicals and methods that are considered too dangerous for their own countries.

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