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Food for Health Manifesto: a few data

Environmental contaminants and pesticides

More than 80,000 new chemicals and 20 million by-products have been on the market since World War II. Since 1945, global pesticide production has increased about 26 times: from 0.1 to 2.7 million tonnes. http://www.questia.com/magazine/1G1-90161456/popsculture

In Italy, pesticide residues were found in 67% of surface waters and 33.3% of groundwater. 259 substances were detected in Italian surface and deep water, 55 in a single sample. http://www.isprambiente.gov.it/it/pubblicazioni/rapporti/rapporto-nazionale-pesticidi-nelle-acque-dati-2015-2016.-edizione-2018


The WHO estimates 200,000 deaths per year caused by organophosphorus pesticides. http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/34/48

An average citizen has between 300 and 500 more chemicals in his/her body than fifty years ago. https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/54815/not-on-the-label/

Chronic Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs)

70% of deaths worldwide – 40 million deaths per year, about 15 million deaths under the age of 70. 80% of total deaths and 90% among people aged 30-69 in low and middle income countries. http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/noncommunicable-diseases

55% increase in myeloid leukaemia in offspring from pesticide exposure during pregnancy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26061779

Malnutrition and overfeeding

More than 800 million people are still undernourished, despite the fact that almost a third of the food produced is wasted along the production line. http://www.fao.org/state-of-food-security-nutrition

2 billion people suffer, at the same time, from obesity or overweight. http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight


The industrial food system dominates more than 75% of the world’s arable land. http://www.fao.org/family-farming/detail/en/c/284666/

75% of plant genetic diversity has disappeared in just one hundred years. http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/CA0146EN

Organic food

Organic food contains higher levels of polyphenols (from 19% to 51%) and antioxidants, lower pesticide residues and lower levels of heavy metals, in particular cadmium. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24968103

Small scale and organic farming

Smallholder farmers provide 70% of the world’s food while having only 25% of the arable land available. https://www.grain.org/article/entries/4929-hungry-for-land-small-farmers-feed-the-world-with-less-than-a-quarter-of-all-farmland

Cost Accounting

Costs of NCDs: by 2030: over 30 trillion dollars, or 48% of world GDP. http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/documents/s18806en/s18806en.pdf

The cost of synthetic fertilizers in terms of environmental damage is estimated at 375 billion dollars. http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/nr/sustainability_pathways/docs/FWF2_FAO_final_02042014.pdf