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have reduced access to iodine-rich marine foods. Fertilizers are often contaminated by cadmium, which is not essential to human health and is harmful in high doses (Newbigging, Yan and Le 2015).


Positive effects of healthy soils in human health are related to nature’s available benefits to people (FAO 2015d). For example, some valuable antibiotics have been derived from soil microorganisms (Oliver and Gregory 2015).


Food, chemicals and human health Pesticides (defined here as also including herbicides) have generated an almost universal human exposure to synthetic chemicals, many of which are harmful and even fatal at high doses (Nicolopoulou-Stamati et al. 2016). However, there is much uncertainty concerning the health effects of chronic exposure to pesticides at lower doses. While human exposure to some chemicals, such as organochlorines, has reduced in recent years due to regulation, other synthetic compounds have entered the human food chain, such as other pesticides, artificial sweeteners and colorants. The health effects of these substances, whether in isolation or combination, are very difficult to determine for reasons including uncertainty concerning exposure, varying rates and times of the accumulation of these compounds and their release from human tissue, and the lag between exposure and disease. In 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated an annual 735,000 cases of specific chronic effects linked to pesticides globally (WHO and UNEP 1990), but pesticide use has increased dramatically since then, especially in developing countries where lax regulations and an absence of compliance mechanisms expose millions of farmers and workers to pesticides capable of causing chronic effects that include cancers; reproductive, respiratory, immune and neurological effects; and much more (Watts and Williamson 2015).


There is good evidence from high-income countries that groups occupationally exposed to pesticides, such as farmers, have higher rates of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, attributed to pesticides (Schinasi and Leon 2014). Higher than expected rates of Parkinson’s disease have also been related to occupational exposure to pesticides (Liew et al. 2014). Other factors that influence health, such as age, undernutrition and impaired immune status, may also interact with the health effects of pesticides, but this issue is currently under-studied. The health effects of chronic pesticide exposures vary considerably on women and men due to their different physiologies. Data on pesticide use (and protection) by women and men in food production are incomplete and inconsistent. Overall, men are less sensitive than women to many pesticides (Hardell 2003; Watts 2007; Watts 2013). Pesticides and breast cancer rates have a strong connection (Watts 2007; Watts 2013) and women are more vulnerable than men to endocrine disruption from pesticides (Howard 2003). On the other hand, men are more sensitive to some (other) pesticides (Alavanja et al. 2003).


Food quality can also be impaired through biotic contamination, both microbiological and fungal (Gnonlonfin et al. 2013). Mycotoxins, including aflatoxins, can be generated when cereals are damaged by rain, both pre-harvest and through poor storage and are an important cause of liver cancer in many low-income settings (Wild and Gong 2010).


8.5.3 Tenure security


Land tenure, land deals Despite heavy reliance on land resources, communities, especially in the global South, frequently lack ownership of the land they farm or hold in common. While high-impact scientific studies on the causal linkages between tenure security and food security are lacking (Ghebru and Stein 2013; Holden and Ghebru 2016; Lawry et al. 2017), there is sufficient evidence to show that food and energy security of local communities is profoundly diminished when they lose reliable access to their land resources (Godfray et al. 2010; Muchomba 2017; Tomei and Ravindranath 2018). Land and housing are the most important assets in large sections of the world. Secure rights, for both men and women, can help turn these assets into economic opportunities (Doss, Kieran and Kilic 2017). It also allows communities to tap into the benefits of institutional support and regulation (Dekker 2016). Indigenous populations, the poor, landless and women are among the most vulnerable to the repercussions of unequal landownership and access (Narh et al. 2016).


While the precise amount of community land in the world is unknown, estimates suggest that only approximately 10 per cent of formal land rights are registered or recorded worldwide (Veit and Reytar 2017). Estimates indicate that local communities and indigenous people depend on and manage 50-65 per cent of the world’s land area (Alden Wily 2011; Pearce 2016), yet many governments still recognize their rights over only a fraction of these lands (Rights and Resources Initiative [RRI] 2015) (Figure 8.23).


Figure 8.23: Global forest ownership, 2002-2013 (%) 100%


10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%


0% 77.9% 73%


8


9.8%12.6% 1.5%2.9%


10.9%11.5%


2002


IP: indigenous peoples. Source: RRI (2015).


2013


Land and Soil


221


Administered by government


Designated for IPs & communities


Owned by IPs & communities Owned by firms & individuals


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