Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Drive against pesticides gains momentum

Anti-pesticide week from December 3 in Idukki

The Agriculture Department will observe anti-pesticide week from December 3 to 10 in Idukki and monitoring of pesticides sprayed on estates will be intensified during the period. Principal agriculture officer K.K. Chandran told The Hindu on Monday that campaigns among estate workers would be organised in association with grama panchayats, non-governmental organisations and research centres against the use of Endosulfan during the period. 

He said Endosulfan and pesticides beyond the date of expiry would be seized from sales outlets and legal action would be initiated. Mr. Chandran said there was a tendency among farmers to buy pesticides beyond the date of expiry at reduced rate and spray it above the prescribed limit, especially in small-scale cardamom plantations. This had resulted in withering of crops which also created health problems. He said there was prescribed dose for each pesticide and the farmers often flouted it when the price of cardamom went up, producing negative results.

During the campaign, the farmers would be exposed to all unhealthy practices and the ill effects of Endosulfan would be explained to the estate workers. Officials of the department had been posted at check-posts through which Endosulfan was being smuggled into the cardamom plantations. Farmers using Endosulfan or pesticides above the prescribed limit would not be allowed any financial or other help of the department, he said. Field studies would be conducted and samples would be tested to analyse the pesticides used in vegetable farms and the level of dosage, Mr. Chandran said.

The decision to intensify the campaign against the use of yellow or red labelled pesticides and Endosulfan in the cardamom and tea plantations follows a meeting of officials convened by Agriculture Minister Mullakara Ratnakaran at the mini civil station in Thodupuzha on Saturday.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Illegal Mothballs Resembling Candy Imported by Brooklyn Company

Approximately 4,800 bags containing moth balls resembling candy were found by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a New Jersey warehouse. The illegal pesticides, which are not registered with the EPA, were imported by a Brooklyn-based company from China. 

The EPA is asking consumers who may have purchased the bright packaging, labeled Fuji Lavender Moth Tablets, to contact the EPA so that the products can be disposed of properly.

“Importing pesticide products that are not registered with EPA is a serious violation," said EPA regional administrator Judith Enck in a statement by the agency. "The registration process ensures that we know what pesticides are in the products, and that they have labels with directions for proper use. Mothballs sold in colorful packaging that resemble candy pose a particular risk to children.”

The EPA says it suspects the mothballs contain a chemical called para-dichlorobenzene, which can cause a number of illnesses including respiratory distress, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Endosulfan crave lives in Muthalamada ‘Mango City’

The large scale use of Endosulfan in the agriculture farms, particularly in the ‘Mango City’ in Muthalamada for better yield cave lives in this border area of Chittur taluk with Tami Nadu. The symptoms of diseases found in Muthalamada area are similar to the ones found in Kasaragod where the deadly pesticide was once used in cashew farms. The easy availability of Endosulfan from across the border compounded the problem in this agriculture dominated area. 

People living near the mango orchards at Muthalamada panchayat are facing a number of health problems due to the use of Endosulfan pesticide. Mango farms are concentrated from Govindapuram to Nemmara, all along the Thenmala region of Nelliampathy Hills. About 60 sq km in the region is under mango cultivation. In order to get more yields, the farmers and middlemen allegedly use a huge quantity of deadly pesticides. 

A number of children died earlier and many are facing the same problems. Four of them are undergoing treatment, says S. Guruvayurappan, project coordinator of Wildlife Protection Society of India. Seven year old Soumya, daughter of Chandran and Rugmini of Banglamed, Muthalamada is affected with Cerebral Meninjaitis soon after her birth. 

The family is living in the midst of Muthalamada `mango city’ for the last 15 years. Their son Saju (11) is born with low mental growth, eye sight and is unable to speak. Ten year old Sakthivel is affected with skin disease (Soriasis type). He was taken to Thrissur Medical College for treatment. Some oil massages were also done. But no relief yet. The family is living in Ambedkar Colony, Govindapuram in the border area. Eleven year old Sneha, daughter of Silomani, is also having low mental growth and breathing problems. 

Ten year old Kirana, daughter of Kittu and Radhika is physically disabled since birth. She is not able to move and is confined to her bed though from outside she looks alright. They live in Cheerani Road in Kollengode Panchayat. Pesticide spraying is rampant in the Mango Orchards in the area. Endosulfan is easily available in the Muthalamada area from across the border; it is just 10 to 15 minutes' journey to the neighbouring Tamil Nadu. There is no mechanism to check smuggling of Endosulfan into Kerala. 

A study conducted by National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) on the health hazards of Endosulfan spraying in Kasaragod in 2001 had found that the pesticide is the cause of a number of health problems among schoolchildren living in the exposed area. These children had significantly lower intelligence level and very high incidence of various sexual disorders. 

The NIOH had found Endosulfan residues even after 10 months of spraying in the soil and water in the affected areas. Even blood samples of young children had deadly residues of the pesticide. In a memorandum submitted to the Environment Committee of the State Assembly during its visit to Muthalamada as back as in February, 2007 to study the problems of the use of Endosulfan, the Wildlife Protection Society sought promotion of organic farming and use of bio pest repellents and fertilizers. 

Mr. Guruvayurappan,said a health survey jointly conducted by them along with Ecological Protection Group and Calicut University Education Centre in January 2006 at Muthalamada found that one-third of the 500 families living in the area are affected by deadly diseases such as cancer, mental disability, genetic disorders, TB and related respiratory disease, blindness, skin disease, etc. 

The use of chemical pesticides did not also spare the animals and insects in the area. It resulted in massive death of butterflies, beetles, birds, monkeys, etc. The domestic animals such as cattle also became the victims of the deadly pesticide, he said. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Film celebrates Rachel Carson


A genuine heroine will be celebrated at Tucson's Historic Fox Theatre next Friday. Rachel Carson, who battled cancer, big chemical corporations and the government in the last year of her life (she died of breast cancer in 1964), sounded the first alarms about pesticides poisoning the Earth with her 1962 book, "Silent Spring." 

The Center for Children & Nature (CCN) at Prescott College will screen "A Sense of Wonder," a film about the last year of Carson's life, when the writer/biologist brought national attention to environmental issues. Also slated for the festive evening are food, a silent auction and entertainment. It's all a fundraiser for CNN, which operates the Ironwood Tree Experience, a very cool eco-program for kids 12 through 19 (find out more about Ironwood at www.ironwoodtreeexperience.org). 

"A Sense of Wonder" aired on PBS earlier this year. Kaiulani Lee adapted the documentary-style film from her play of the same name. It was shot on location at Carson's waterfront cabin in Maine. It's worth seeing just for the landscape, but go and you'll find yourself falling in love with this feisty, passionate woman who has been dubbed the patron saint of the environmental movement. 

Tickets to the event are $20; $10 for children 12 to 18. The fun starts at 5:30 p.m., and the film screens at 8 p.m. at the Fox, 17 W. Congress St. Get tickets at 319-9868. Originally published by KATHLEEN ALLEN, ARIZONA DAILY STAR. 

(c) 2010 Arizona Daily Star. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.


Note: Next Friday is global No Pesticide Use Day!

Launched in 1998 by Pesticide Action Network International, December 3 was designated Global No Pesticides Use Day in memory of the 1984 disaster in Bhopal , India. For more information please refer to http://www.panap.net/en/p/page/pesticides-campaigns-npud/41

More pesticides to be withdrawn in Kasaragod

K.A. Martin
Sale licences of Red and Yellow categories to be revoked

Action against dangerous categories
lab in Palakkad

KOCHI: In what is perceived to be the firmest steps yet towards combating synthetic pesticides and their impact on human health, the State government has decided to withdraw licences to sell Red and Yellow categories of pesticides in Kasaragod district from December and to establish a state-of-the-art residue-testing laboratory in Palakkad district in six to seven months.

Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran told The Hindu on Thursday that the order to withdraw licences to sell these most dangerous categories of pesticides would be issued on December 3, the global No-Pesticides Use Day.

The Minister said the State government had sought support from the Union government for the withdrawal and as in the case of Endosulfan, it would only be the beginning of a move to take similar steps for the rest of Kerala in a phased manner. The order will empower agriculture officers to check the effectiveness of the withdrawal and entrust them the task to create public awareness.

The Agriculture Department has received a proposal to set up a laboratory facility for testing of vegetables and fruits for pesticide residues in Palakkad district. The laboratory will be in line with the one functioning at the College of Agriculture at Vellayani in Thiruvananthapuram. The Palakkad laboratory is expected to be funded jointly by the State government and the National Horticulture Mission.

Field reports
The move by the State government comes amid field reports that rising prices of vegetables and unprecedented pest attacks are forcing farmers in Kerala to resort to indiscriminate use of pesticides and fungicides across the spectrum of food crops. The Minister says that Kerala has got into a “pesticide trap.” The comment came in his letter to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar expressing the State's views on the new Pesticides Management Bill.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

119 horticulture companies 
fined for trading 
in illegal pesticides

DUBAI — A recent crackdown on Dubai’s horticulture companies resulted in the Dubai Municipality fining 119 companies for fraudulent practices and seizing 110 litres of illegal pesticides from them. A total of 642 companies, including flower stalls, nurseries, fertiliser plants and companies trading in horticultural pesticides, were inspected during the special inspection campaign organised by the Public Parks and Horticulture Department at the municipality in cooperation with the Department of Economic Development (DED).
Warning notices were issued against horticultural firms functioning without licence by the Dubai Municipality and a fine of Dh6,000 each was levied for the conduct of pest control activity at the site without licence by the DED. “The offenders were caught to ensure non-spreading of horticultural pests and to stop fraudulent practices, and to provide greater protection to consumers,” the municipality said in a media release. The warehouses in Karama were caught for filling agricultural pesticides and liquid fertilisers from the original containers to other plastic containers of different sizes.
The seizures include 10 pesticides (Vindona) in one litre containers, 71 insecticides (Mouseblan) in 100 grammes packets, 93 refilled pesticide containers without any stickers indicating the capacity of the package, one 8-litre bottle of Target cockroach gel and three rolls, each one with 620 empty plastic containers totalling 1,860 containers.The campaign also resulted in the seizure of nine vehicles used for the sale of date palm plants in these areas as 76 palm trees were for sale. All of these vehicles have been issued warning by Dubai Municipality for unlicensed horticultural activities and fines were issued by the DED.
The Public Parks and Horticulture Department has called upon the public not to buy any palm plants from street vendors. Residents have also been urged to buy plants through specialised companies licenced by the municipality.Otherwise, the municipality warned, the residents will be encouraging a hazardous practice that will lead to the trading of inferior types of palms and will also help in the spread of agricultural pests, especially red palm weevil. Public can call the toll-free number, 800900, for comments or questions.      

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ban on endosulfan after detailed talks, says Centre

Thiruvananthapuram, Tuesday, November 23, 2010: The Central agricultural ministry today informed that a complete ban on endosulfan can be imposed only after detailed talks with all states. The Agricultural ministry expressed this during the review meeting convened by the Union Environment and Forests Ministry at New Delhi today.

While Kerala CM, VS Achuthanandan had informed that the government would provide a comprehensive rehabilitation package for the endosulfan victims in the State. He said that a moratorium would be announced to clear the debts of victims and they would be given rice for Rs 2 a kg.

An all-party delegation would meet prime minister with the demand to ban the pesticide in the whole country. The meet also decided to build and distribute houses to the homeless in the affected areas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pesticides and Breast Cancer: A Wake Up Call

by Dr Meriel Watts PhD

Breast cancer is by far the most common cause of cancer in women throughout the world, and incidence is escalating in the Asia Pacific region. It is time for systemic change in our attitudes to pesticides: we need to implement the precautionary principle and substitute safer ecological methods of managing pests, weeds and disease, for those pesticides exposed here as having the potential to cause breast cancer.

Written by PAN AP scientist and coordinator of PAN Aotearoa/New Zealand, Dr. Meriel Watts PhD, the book provides a compelling argument for preventing the exposure of women and girls to many of today’s commonly used pesticides. This collation of scientific evidence stretching over more than 30 years indicts 98 pesticides—including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides—one common adjuvant and two contaminants of pesticide formulations, as having the potential to cause breast cancer.

“Pesticides: Sowing Poisons, Growing Hunger, Reaping Sorrow”

2nd Edition, 2010
by Meriel Watts PhD

This Policy Research and Analysis on “Pesticides: Sowing Poisons, Growing Hunger, Reaping Sorrow” has been produced for information sharing and exchange with our network partners, the media, and the public at large. It addresses the role of pesticides within the industrial complex. This has eroded traditional and organic agricultural systems that provided for people’s food needs, causing a shift from production of food to crops for cash.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pesticide exposure causes attention problems in children

Monday, November 22, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Children who are exposed to organophosphate pesticides in utero are significantly more likely to develop attention problems later in life, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California-Berkeley and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The researchers tested the urine of pregnant Mexican-American women living in California's Salinas Valley, a major agricultural region, for pesticide metabolites. Their children were then followed for five years, being regularly tested for pesticide metabolites and attention disorders. Attention was evaluated through parental questionnaires and standardized tests.

The researchers found that while only a weak connection between attention problems and prenatal pesticide exposure was observed by age three, by age five a significant correlation was observed.

A tenfold higher concentration of organophosphate metabolites in a mother's urine corresponded to a 500 percent increase in her child's risk of being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A higher concentration of metabolites in a child's urine was also correlated with an increased risk of diagnosis, though not as strongly.

A previous study found that children with high levels of organophosphate metabolites in their urine were nearly 100 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as children with no detectable metabolites. Organophosphates and other pesticides have also been linked to other nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson's disease.

"There has been a linkage between early pesticide exposure and a later loss of dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra, a pathology associated with Parkinson's disease," write Peter J. Whitehouse and Daniel George in their book The Myth of Alzheimer's.

A connection between pesticide exposure and nerve-related disorders is not surprising, since many pesticides -- including organophosphates -- are designed to disrupt insect nervous systems. One of the neurotransmitters that they target, acetylcholine, is also found in the human brain.

Approximately 40 different organophosphate pesticides are currently approved for use in the United States. Source:

110 litres of 'illegal' pesticides seized

110 litres of 'illegal' pesticides seized

Dh6,000 fine for warehouses operating without licences

Dubai Municipality seized 110 litres of 'illegal' pesticides in inspections on about 642 agriculture-related facilities and 119 companies were issued notices for violation of rules. Department of Public Parks and Horticulture, Dubai Municipality, in cooperation with the Department of Economic Development inspected 642 agriculture-related facilities including nurseries, fertiliser factories, etc, reported 'Al Ittihad' newspaper.

Inspectors found 'illegal' warehouses in Karama area where pesticides and fertilisers were refilled in plastic containers. The municipality issued Dh6,000 fine each to owners for operating warehouses without a valid licence, seized the products and detroyed them.The inspections were conducted as per Local Order No54 of 1990; No40 of 1989 and No59 of 1991 to reduce the spread of agriculture pests and fraud in the sector. Source: http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/110-litres-of-illegal-pesticides-seized-2010-11-22-1.319646 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mother kills self, poisons 3 kids

Wed, Nov 17 04:39 PM

Araria (Bihar), Nov 17 (PTI) A woman today allegedly committed suicide by consuming pesticide after poisoning her three children in Bihar''s Araria district, police said. According to police, the 35-year-old woman first forced her four children, aged between one and seven years, to have pesticide before taking it herself.

While the mother and three children died, a girl child survived and was rushed to a PHC at Narpatganj. The woman took the extreme step apparently due to frequent family quarrels, police said. The woman''s husband was in a nearby mosque when the incident took place, they said.

PESTICIDE UPDATES (10th November 2010)

PESTICIDE UPDATES (10th November 2010)

Paraguay bans endosulfan

There was good news today from Centro de Análisis y Acción en Tóxicos y sus Alternativas (CAATA) announcing that the Government of Paraguay confirmed the phase out endosulfan, by authorities of SENAVE ( a government body in charge of pesticide registration and crop and seed safety and national quality control) during the Seminar on Highly Hazardous Pesticides, obsolete and endosulfan phase out conducted in the National Congress, in Asuncion, Paraguay, organized by the NGO ALTERVIDA, a RAP-AL member ( PAN Latin America) The Seminar is also supported in part by IPEN. For more information please visit: http://www.ejfoundation.org/page697.html


Ban on endosulfan: Centre to appoint expert panel
New Delhi, Monday, November 01, 2010: The Central ministry for environment and forests has decided to appoint an expert committee to conduct study on banning endosulfan. The Centre’s decision to formulate a five member expert committee was informed by Union minister Jairam Ramesh to the State government. The five-member committee would also include one member from Kerala. The committee would submit the report within one month’s time. The State government had earlier informed the Centre on the hazardous side effects after the use of the endosulfan. For more information please visit:

Indian veggies, fruits remain highly toxic

NEW DELHI: Rampant use of banned pesticides in fruits and vegetables continues to put at risk the life of the common man. Farmers apply pesticides such as chlordane, endrin and heptachor that can cause serious neurological problems, kidney damage and skin diseases. A study conducted by Delhi-based NGO Consumer-Voice reveals that the amount of pesticides used in eatables in India is as much as 750 times the European standards. The survey collected sample data from various wholesale and retail shops in Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata. For more information please visit:

WHO pesticide regulations should be based on toxicity in humans, not rats

Current WHO pesticide classifications are based on toxicity in rats but basing regulation on human toxicity will make pesticide poisoning less hazardous and prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths globally without compromising agricultural needs. These are the key findings from a study by Andrew Dawson (South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research Collaboration, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka) and colleagues published in this week's PLoS Medicine. For more information please visit:

CAMPAIGN: Endosulfan: march on HIL planned

Endosulfan: march on HIL planned

Special Correspondent
KOCHI: The Forum Against Endosulfan will march on the public-sector Hindustan Insecticides Limited (HIL) factory at Eloor, which produces Endosulfan, on the anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, on December 3.
The marchers will demand an end to the production, sale and use of Endosulfan which is harmful to human and environmental health.

The HIL, a multi-unit Central Government enterprise, produces Endosulfan under the brand name Hildan. In the past, several environmental and Periyar protection organisations had urged the government to get Endosulfan production stopped by HIL, following detection of heavy doses of Endosulfan residues in the Kuzhikandam Canal at Eloor a couple of years ago. The forum has decided to send a mass petition to the Prime Minister seeking to get Endosulfan banned in the country. The forum condemned Union Minister K.V. Thomas, who reportedly stated that Endosulfan caused no harm to human health.