Endosulfan is a pesticide and it is an organochlorine which is known to persist in the environment causing damage to aquatic systems and is known to bioaccumulate and travel long distances. Australian chemical regulatory body APVMA has cancelled its registration since Oct 2010. (1).
In India it has been used frequently and indiscriminately as if it is a harmless chemical. Indian government claims to defend its usage as if there are no other alternatives available. This is the defense it has been using for quite considerable number of years. This argument is used to ensure agriculture productivity is maintained (even though it hovers around 2% so no great productivity). However in agriculture areas where is it used frequently it has alleged to have caused severe deformities in new born babies to cancer among adults. However the government either state or central governments have not made much effort to prove this scientifically. States such as Kerala and more recently Karnataka have banned the use of this chemicals. In Geneva recent convention has led to a decision to ban this although India won some exemptions. However this still does not solve the issue as to what caused these deformities and cancers. Is it truly Endosulfan or some other cause? Although Endosulfan is known for its environmental hazardous nature without proper scientific proof Indian governments do not have a scientific leg to stand on.
Another key factor to note in the use of Pesticides in India is the sheer lack of comprehensive Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) or Proper Lables. In the western countries the MSDS is comprehensive with Minimum/maximum residual limits and minimum withholding periods. Apart from these farmers and horticultural staff are trained in the safe use of these chemical and use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OH&S). In India, I have yet to come across these legislations for agriculture. In India pesticides herbicides and insecticides are used indiscriminately without the proper use of PPEs. This leads to the question was it Endosulfan or some other chemical which is still not banned in India yet farmers use it indiscriminately without PPE and expose themselves, their families and general public who buy these vegetables, fruits and other food products not knowing how much of pesticide residue is still remaining. Washing need not remove all the chemicals from food products.
This leads a serous question Indian agricultural productivity at what cost? to the farmers and general public. Is Indian government interested in just feeding the public to shut them up or is it interested in public health? Do farmers children and families have to pay the price for feeding Indian population?. Already over 150,000 farmers have committed suicides in India due to various reasons how many more need to be scarified? Are the public so complacent or ignorant or blaze' about these issues that they don't care? Every time public consume these chemicals even in micrograms if they bioaccumulate there is a chance that they can cause health problems. In a country like India where governments and private organizations are not interested in conducting research on these issues, it may never be known what is the price the population is paying for so called productivity and growth.
The answer for general public is to wash all vegetables with water thoroughly as much as you can to reduce the chemical intake. If possible grow as many vegetables as possible. To their credit both Kerala and Karnataka governments have banned the Endosulfan use. They can go a step forward and train the farmers in safe use of chemicals. Even if they spend 10% of the money they spend on unnecessary fertilizer subsidies on training the farmers in safe use of agrochemicals many health problems can be reduced. This is a serious environmental and public health issue which government needs to address immediately. India may have agricultural sector growth but could pay a very heavy price in the longer term in the health sector and overall productivity.
It is high time Indian public paid attention to these matters and demanded better policies from their governments.
|(2). This is the Product information for Thiodan ( Endosulfan) in India.|
|Mode of Action:|
|Contact & stomach insecticide.|
| All pulses, vegetables, fruits, rice, cotton, tea, soybean|
|Year of Registration In India:|
|Disease Spectrum/ Weed Spectrum (for Herbicides):|
|All pests belonging to Lepidoptera, Homoptera, Coleoptera , Diptera, Thysanptera|
|EC - Emulsifiable Concentrate|
|1 - 1.25 lt/ha|
|Product Features and Benefits:|
Contact & Stomach poison. An ideal partner in IPM/HRM
| 1. Gastric lavage with a mixture of activated charcoal-2 parts, magnesium oxide - 1 part, and tannic acid - 1part in 300 ml warm water|
...2. Saline pugative may be given but oil laxative should not be given
...3. To induce sedation and control convulsions phenobarbitone (upto 0.7 g per day) or phenobarbitone (0.25 to 0.5 g per day) may be given
...4. 10% Calcium gluconate may be given intravenously to control spasms. Epinephrine is contraindicated.
|Handle with care, Poisonous, Do not touch or Inhale the contents.|
| Highly Toxic.|
The question is why was this product allowed to be
sprayed as an aerial spray despite company labels asks
people not to touch it?
|Karnataka to re-impose ban on endosulfan|
|Belgaum (Karnataka), April 30 (IANS)|
Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Saturday said the government will re-impose within two days the ban on use of pesticide Endosulfan in the state.
|"We will promulgate an ordinance within two days to ban endosulfan's use in the state as it is harmful to health of the people," Yeddyurappa told reporters in this north Karnataka town, about 500 kms from Bangalore.|
Karnataka had Feb 17 banned Endosulfan use for 60 days. The state has been demanding a nation-wide ban.
Endosulfan has been extensively used in Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi districts on the west coast to protect cashew crop from diseases.
While imposing the 60-day ban Feb 17, the Karnataka cabinet had said that aerial spraying of the insecticide had resulted in various health problems such as children suffering physical deformities and mental retardation, skin cancer and epilepsy.