The Health Consequences of Aerial Spraying of Illicit Crops: The Case of Colombia

Produced by: 
Center for Global Development
Available from: 
June 2015
Paper author(s): 
Adriana Camacho
Daniel Mejia
Agricultural - Natural Resource Economics

This paper exploits the variation in aerial spraying across time and space in Colombia and employs a panel of individual health records in order to study the causal effects of aerial spraying of herbicides (Glyphosate) on short-term health-related outcomes. Our results show that exposure to the herbicide used in aerial spraying campaigns increases the number of medical consultations related to dermatological and respiratory-related illnesses and the number of miscarriages. This finding is robust to the inclusion of individual fixed effects, which compares the prevalence of these medical conditions for the same person under different levels of exposure to the herbicide used in the aerial spraying program over a period of 5 years. Also, our results are robust to controlling for the extent of coca cultivation of illicit crops in the municipality of residence.


Research section: 
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