Published: Sunday 15 April 2001

-- Pesticides whose quality is far below internationally accepted standards are posing health hazards, two UN agencies have warned. Around 30 per cent of pesticides sold in developing countries, that have an estimated market value of US $900 million annually, do not meet safety standards, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). "These pesticides frequently contain hazardous substances and impurities that have already been banned or severely restricted elsewhere," said Gero Vaagt of the FAO's pesticide management group.

Vaagt said that stocks of obsolete pesticides in developing countries is increasing. According to the UN agencies, the problem of poor quality pesticides is especially prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, where quality control is weak. The global market value for pesticides last year was estimated at US $32 billion.

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