THE US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to terminate use of endosulfan in the US.
The decision was taken on June 9 after risk assessments and evaluation of the benefits of the insecticide over the past several years. Data collected showed risks faced by farm workers, exposed through inhalation and skin contact, are greater than previously known. The insecticide is known to pose high neurological and reproductive risks to farmers, farm labourers and wildlife. EPA is now preparing details to phase out the insecticide.
This decision was overdue and is victory for farmers and their families, said Karl Tupper, staff scientist with Pesticide Action Network North America. The US decision can influence countries like Australia and Canada to ban endosulfan, said Jayakumar C of Thanal, a non-profit working with endosulfan victims in Kerala’s Kasargod district. The insecticide is currently banned in the EU, nine African countries and New Zealand. India, Israel and China continue to use the chemical.
“Now that the US has decided to ban the chemical, it will be interesting to see what stand India takes at the next conference of parties of the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants in 2011,” Jayakumar added. Union environment ministry officials were unavailable for comments.
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