Bayer belongs to the largest exporters of Endosulfan
PRESS RELEASE, 3 December 2008
STOP Endosulfan! Stop Pesticides Poisonings!
On the occasion of global "No Pesticides Use Day" this 3rd December 2008, Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP) calls for the global ban and phase out of the production and use of Endosulfan, one of the most dangerous organochlorine pesticide in the world.
Endosulfan belongs to the group of highly toxic chemicals called persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and has already been banned in 56 countries because of its high toxicity and environmental contamination. However, its presence in Asia and the Pacific continues to acquire lives and damage natural resources.
This year alone, three major incidents highlight its adverse effects: in May, Endosulfan was found in lettuce, strawberries and courgettes in New Zealand, posing health risks to consumers and growers; in June, the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars sank in the Philippines and was found to contain 10 metric tonnes of Endosulfan, threatening people's health and the marine environment; in November, five students died in Ranchi, India, after drinking milk that had Endosulfan residues.
"It is truly alarming that in Asia and the Pacific, not only millions of workers and farmers are being affected by Endosulfan, but also consumers, marine ecosystems and even children are exposed and are suffering from health problems, poisoning, and even deaths!" says PAN AP Executive Director, Sarojeni V. Rengam. She adds, "It is an unmitigated tragedy that Endosulfan, Paraquat, and numerous other pesticides which are extremely hazardous under conditions of use in the South are still so widely used from Bangladesh to India, from Thailand to the Philippines, and Cambodia to China".
In October 2008, the Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention met and concluded that Endosulfan met the criteria for inclusion in the treaty, but several countries exporting the pesticide including India, blocked its addition to the prior informed consent (PIC) during the Rotterdam Convention.
"Its turning up as residues in our daily food is completely unacceptable. It is an endocrine disruptor, mimicking oestrogen at very low levels of exposure and is implicated in breast cancer. It is also a neurotoxin and is linked to Parkinson's disease, it causes birth defects, and it undermines the immune system." says Dr. Meriel Watts of Pesticide Action Network Aotearoa. She adds, "Many hundreds of people have been killed, particularly in Africa and India, by exposure to this pesticide when used in agriculture. In New Zealand, ERMA is reassessing Endosulfan and we hope this will bring about a final ban on it but in the meantime, we call on growers to immediately stop the use of this highly toxic and destructive pesticide."
In the Philippines, Endosulfan was banned in 1994 but two major pineapple plantations (Del Monte and Dole) somehow managed exemptions and were allowed to use it even after findings that Endosulfan applicators in Del Monte developed abnormalities in their chromosomes. The pineapple companies have been importing 10 metric tonnes of Endosulfan yearly. The ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars was found to be carrying the pesticide for the pineapple companies. "Its sinking posed a massive global environmental pollution." says Dr. Romeo Quijano of the College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila. He explains, "A very slight amount of Endosulfan that would be dissolved in water is sufficient to kill fish and cause adverse health effects in animals and humans upon exposure. While the Philippine Pesticide Authority indicated that the pineapple companies' license to use Endosulfan will no longer be renewed starting next year, they have not issued any order to recall any Endosulfan stocks still being held by the companies."
"Moreover, residues of the deadly pesticide have been recently found in surface water and in vegetables in Mindanao, posing a major threat to consumers and growers. Although the provincial government of Bukidnon passed an ordinance banning the use of Endosulfan, this would only cover Del Monte and not Dole, whose use of Endosulfan is mainly in South Cotabato," adds Quijano. He furthers, "It is also common knowledge that the pesticide continue to enter the country through its backdoor ports."
In the latest incident in Ranchi district India, five students died from taking milk mixed with Endosulfan. While investigations on the milk poisoning case are still ongoing, Endosulfan continues to pose threats not only to milk consumers, as it is being used for sugarcane, tomato, brinjal, pulses and cashew. The incident reflects the extensive availability and use of the pesticide, and this is not surprising as India is one of the major exporters of Endosulfan. India was also one of the countries who blocked the inclusion of the pesticide into the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides during the recently concluded Fourth Conference of the Parties (COP-4) of the Rotterdam Convention.
The PIC Convention demands that recipient countries in trade interactions are aware of and accept the dangers associated with the specific and listed chemicals they import. Currently, 39 chemicals are listed as requiring the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure. The conference sought to add three more chemicals to the list, as recommended by its subsidiary scientific body. However, only tributyltin compounds (TBT) was listed – with parties failing to agree applying the PIC procedure to chrysotile asbestos and Endosulfan. The two latter chemicals are still in active use, and major exporters strongly opposed their listing under the PIC procedure, fearing this would hamper their trade – even though the PIC procedure by no means bans trade as such. The fate of the two chemicals will be taken up at the next COP.
"The exclusion of Endosulfan and chrysotile asbestos blatantly shows that the pesticide industry and their profit motives have tragically succeeded over the safety of consumers and workers, and have powerfully influenced the credibility of the Rotterdam Convention," asserts Rengam. She adds, "We have to continue to expose our legitimate concerns and scientific evidences especially with the current trend of globalisation and increasing commercialisation of agriculture that promotes intensive use of hazardous pesticides."
On 3rd December 2008, activities to draw attention to the life threatening impacts of chemical pesticides such as Endosulfan, on people and the environment will be taking place across Asia and the Pacific. For additional information, please visit www.panap.net
"No Pesticide Use Day" is in commemoration of the thousands who died, and the tens of thousands who still suffer as a result of the 1984 Bhopal disaster. The tragedy of Bhopal has been called the worst commercial industrial disaster in history – but not the last. Around the world the ongoing manufacture, distribution, and use of chemical pesticides continue to seek devastating impacts on people and the environment. The World Health Organisation estimates that yearly, at least 3 million people are poisoned and 200,000 die by using pesticide. While many of the reported ill effects constitute acute cases of pesticide poisoning, it is the chronic long-term effects such as cancers that are of increasing concern.
Saturday Jul 12th, 2008
Campaign Ban Endosulfan !
Quezon City. Over 50 citizens groups and coalitions working for public health, environmental justice and sustainable development joined forces to press for a total ban on endosulfan, stressing that its continued use is akin to a ticking “toxic time bomb.
In a creative protest held outside the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) in Quezon City, the eco-activists disguised themselves as lethal monsters, donning toxic masks and carrying a huge mock bomb, representing endosulfan and the many grave threats it presents to the people and the environment.
The diverse civil society organizations spoke as one in urging the government to impose without delay and without exemption a complete ban for all uses of endosulfan, the dreaded toxic cargo of the ill-starred M.V. Princess of the Stars that capsized off Sibuyan Island in Romblon province.
“To reduce the unacceptable threat of endosulfan to human health, wildlife and the environment, we ask the government to ban endosulfan and revoke all exemptions without delay, Dr. Romy Quijano of the Pesticide Action Network-Philippines and the International POPs Elimination Network said.
PAN and IPEN, along with other groups, have long been campaigning for a global ban on endosulfan.
“We also urge the government and the industry to switch to ecological, non-chemical pest control practices in agriculture for the health and safety of our farmers, workers, consumers and the whole environment, Eileen Sison of the EcoWaste Coalitions Task Force Organic Farming added.
The Manila-based groups were joined by a representative of the Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment, Inc. (Sibuyan ISLE), the lone environmental group in the area, in calling for decisive steps versus possible chemical devastation of the famed Sibuyan Island.
“The possible contamination of Sibuyan Island and its marine environment with endosulfan, tamaron and other chemical cargoes, and bunker fuel from the sunken vessel is already affecting the life and livelihood of our people who depend mainly on the abundance of the sea, Rodne Galicha of Sibuyan ISLE lamented.
Sibuyan ISLE urges all the parties involved, including the national government, Sulpicio Lines, Del Monte Philippines, Inc. and Bayer Crop Science, among others, to pursue quick and efficient strategies and mechanisms to protect the people, prevent marine pollution and preserve the rich biodiversity and abundance of the Sibuyan Sea.
The various groups also raised the need for the authorities to institute a community health and environment monitoring program in places exposed to endosulfan, a synthetic organochlorine pesticide, to find out the extent of potential contamination and to come up with an action plan.
Endosulfan was banned by the FPA in 1993, but exemptions to the ban were granted in 1995 to pineapple industry giants Del Monte and Dole to kill the mites that cause the so-called “pink disease in pineapple plants.
Del Monte and Dole were given “institutional exemption, allowing them to use the highly toxic pesticide despite local and global concern against its use.
Extensive studies confirm that endosulfan bioaccumulates in living things, is extremely toxic to almost all kinds of organisms, is very persistent in the environment and is transported long distances, far from its source. These characteristics make endosulfan a notorious global pollutant that has to be eradicated straight away.
Reports further show that endosulfan poisoning has been linked to reproductive and birth abnormalities, congenital physical disorders, mental retardation, neurological problems, cancer and death among agricultural workers and villagers in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Endosulfan, a nerve poison, causes neurotoxicity and can damage the immune system.
Because of its toxicity and persistence in humans, wildlife and the environment, many countries, including the members of the European Union (EU), have outlawed the production, sale and use of endosulfan. In 2007, the EU nominated endosulfan for a global ban under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which the Senate of the Philippines ratified in 2004.
Among the groups/networks and individuals endorsing for a total ban on endosulfan are:
Add Up! Volunteers,
Alliance of Progressive Labor,
Bangon Kalikasan Movement
Buklod Kalikasan (BUKAL),
Cavite Green Coalition,
Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center,
Concerned Citizens Against Pollution,
Earth Council Asia Pacific,
Earth Renewal Project,
Environmental Advocates Reaching Towards Humanity-University of Santo Tomas (EARTH-UST),
Ecological Society of the Philippines,
EcoWaste Coalition – Task Force Organic Farming,
Environmental Broadcast Circle
Foodfirst Information and Action Network,
Freedom from Debt Coalition,
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives,
Global Call to Action against Poverty-Philippines,
Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy,
Green Movement of Angono,
Greenpeace Southeast Asia,
Health Care Without Harm,
Hugpong Alburanon Nagpakabana (Hugalna-Bohol),
Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternatives Legal Services, Inc.,
Integrated Rural Development Foundation,
Institute for the Development of Educational and Ecological Alternatives,
International POPs Elimination Project-Southeast Asia,
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission – Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines,
Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya,
Krusada sa Kalikasan,
Legal Rights & Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines,
Manabo Development Foundation, Inc.,
Mother Earth Foundation,
Negros Organic Agricultural Movement
November 17 Movement,
Organic Movement in the Philippines,
Partido Kalikasan Institute,
People Against Illegitimate Debt,
People's Agricultural Plan for the 21st Century
Pesticide Action Network-Philippines,
Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas,
Sagip Pasig Movement,
Save Tanon Strait Citizens Movement,
Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment, Inc.,
Task Force Food Sovereignty,
World Environment Day- Philippines Network,
Youth Against Debt,
Zero Waste Philippines,
Fr. Archie Casey, SX
Danton Remoto ,
Sister Maria Noel, Ssps,
Dr. Nina Galang,
Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos,
Dr. Vicente C. Ynclino