Published: Thursday 31 July 2008

on july 3,50 Filipino ngos demanded that endosulfan should be banned. This came after a passenger ship "illegally" carrying 9 tonnes of the insecticide capsized off the central Philippines in a typhoon on June 21. Rescue operation on board the Princess of Stars was stopped after the decision to refloat the ship. Activists have expressed fear of a disaster if the tank carrying endosulfan leaks. The Philippines government for the time being has put a ban on consumption of seafood caught in the area.

In another development, the Environmental Risk Management Authority (erma) of New Zealand proposed a partial ban on endosulfan in the country. "They are proposing a ban on aerial spraying of endosulfan and home garden use, neither of which happens in New Zealand anyway," said Meriel Watts, coordinator, Pesticide Action Network (pan)-New Zealand.

The proposals allow for the pesticide's use on a number of food crops, particularly vegetables and berry fruit, and on lawns and sports fields to kill earthworms so that worm castings don't get in the way of the ball. Watts alleged that health impact aside, erma ignored the effects of endosulfan on marine animals and the global impact considering that 60-70 per cent of endosulfan escapes into the air after its application and deposits in the cold regions.

European countries have taken a more effective action against pesticides. The agriculture ministers of eu countries have proposed a ban on pesticides linked with cancer, mutation, reproductive toxicity and hormonal disruption. If the ban comes into effect, around 5 per cent of pesticides will be removed from the market.

"There has been no issue with importing produce and products grown using endosulfan so long as those products are within the legal maximum residue levels. But we think there is a double standard in that endosulfan is not deemed to be acceptable for use in the eu but it's fine to import produce that has used it," said Nick Mole, coordinator pan-uk.

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