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The journal of Pesticide Action Network UK An international perspective on the health and environmental effects of pesticides Quarterly
Pesticides News No 92 Editorial 2 PAN UK appeal 3
PAN UK launches 25th anniversary appeal
International conventions 4 Victory! Endosulfan slated for global ban 21 Poisonings in Burkina Faso support paraquat’s inclusion in watch list
22 POPs webinars
Latin America 6
Pesticide use continues to grow in Brazil
Developing countries 8
Pesticides course to strengthen developing country capacity
10 Self-monitoring for self-protection 12 From ‘spraying to death’ to judicious use in Kenya
20 A big step forward for pesticide dealers in Mali
European regulation 9
EU undermines new requirement for independent science in pesticide approval
18 NGOs demand implementation of new EU pesticide legislation
Spotlight 14 Campaign hero – Nick Mole
Health effects 15 Roundup and birth defects – is the public being kept in the dark?
UK news 16 Another backward step as UK aims to change training requirements
17 Something nasty lurking upstream of Cambridge
Book reviews 23 Phasing out pesticides to stop poisonings
23 A guide to gardening for beneficial insects
23 An ode to bees
Pesticide Action Network UK Development House 56-64 Leonard Street London EC2A 4LT, UK Tel +44 (0)20 7065 0905 Fax +44 (0)20 7065 0907 Email email@example.com
www.pan-uk.org www.pan-international.org links to all PAN Regional Centres
Senegalese farmers transport their organic cotton harvest
Photo: PAN Africa
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In turbulent times for all organisations relying on donor funding, PAN UK has launched its 25th Anniversary Appeal. Director Keith Tyrell makes a passionate call for resources to allow the organisation to remain proactive on critical pesticide issues in the UK and internationally (page 3).
Who’s who at Pesticide Action Network UK
In the last three months, major steps have been taken by the international pesticides conventions, confirming their essential role in global pesticide risk reduction. Endosulfan was finally added to a list of globally banned chemicals of the Stockholm Convention in April, and we carry a first hand report on how events unfolded from PAN North America (page 4). At the same time, paraquat was recommended for listing in the Rotterdam Convention, using a powerful but underutilised mechanism which allows developing countries to propose severely hazardous pesticide formulations that have been wreaking havoc in their countries. This is the first time this mechanism has been utilised since adoption of the convention in 2004 and sets a good example for other developing countries to follow (page 21).
Nick Mole Policy Officer
New EU regulations on registering pesticides address the long-standing criticism that registration decisions rely too heavily on industry data, but recent guidance has not satisfied critics. It relies heavily on Good Laboratory Practice rather than sound, peer-reviewed independent science, causing a stir among independent scientists who point out the limitations of GLP (page 9). The practical problems of bias toward industry-generated research are demonstrated in an article on the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate). New research on the impacts of glyphosate on birth defects concludes that an objective review of all the available science urgently needs to be conducted by the EU, and certainly before glyphosate-resistant genetically modified crops are approved in Europe (page 15). An update from Brazil demonstrates that such crops are likely to increase pesticide use, with all the associated negative effects on health and the environment (page 6). A DEFRA consultation on implementation of the new European Sustainable Use Directive concluded that only minor changes are needed in the UK. However conservation organisations disagree (page 18) – while one of the proposed changes seems to be taking the UK backwards in terms of protecting pesticide users (page 16). Further afield, EU pesticide standards may offer benefits to farmers. Production of green beans in Kenya for export to Europe have improved health, environmental and economic outcomes for farmers through adoption of integrated pest management techniques (page 12).
Online subscription Subscribers can now benefit from an online searchable version of Pesticides News (September 1993 to the current issue) with the following username and password (changed twice a year): Username: subscriber Password: carbaryl
We also bring you two articles from West Africa on improving pesticide management conditions, by training dealers (page 20) and communities on health impacts (page 8). Finally, an article about a site in Cambridge (page 17) reminds UK readers that pesticide wastes are not only a problem for developing countries.
Pesticide Action Network – Regional Centres AFRICA PAN Africa BP 15938, Dakar-FANN Senegal Tel: (221) 33 825 4914 Fax: (221) 33 825 1443 firstname.lastname@example.org www.pan-afrique.org
ASIA/PACIFIC PAN Asia and the Pacific PO Box 1170 10850 Penang, Malaysia Tel: (60-4) 657 0271 Fax: (60-4) 658 3960 email@example.com www.panap.net
EUROPE PAN Europe is facilitated by PAN UK and PAN Germany www.pan-europe.info firstname.lastname@example.org PAN Germany Nernstweg 32 22765 Hamburg, Germany Tel: (49-40) 399 191022 Fax: (49-40) 390 7520 email@example.com www.pan-germany.org www.pan-international.org links to all PAN Regional Centres
LATIN AMERICA RAPAL (PAN Latin America) Coordinadora Regional Av. Providencia No365, depto. No41 Providencia, Santiago de Chile Tel/Fax: (56-2) 341 6742 firstname.lastname@example.org www.rap-al.org NORTH AMERICA PAN North America 49 Powell St., 5th Floor San Francisco, CA 94102, US Tel: (1-415) 981 1771 Fax: (1-415) 981 1991 email@example.com www.panna.org
Dr Keith Tyrell Director
Stephanie Williamson International Projects Officer Geremew Tereda Accounts Eloise Touni Pesticides News guest editor
Eloise Touni This issue has been compiled by guest editor, Eloise Touni. Eloise is a freelance international consultant on pesticide management, including on obsolete pesticides and international regulations governing pesticides, with eight years experience in developing countries. She has worked with NGOs, governments and international organisations with particular expertise in communications strategies, monitoring and evaluation, and implementation of the international conventions. firstname.lastname@example.org; http://gr.linkedin.com/in/eloisetouni Articles published in Pesticides News promote health, safety, environmental commitment and alternatives to pesticides as well as debate. The authors’ views are not necessarily those of the Pesticide Action Network UK. Initials at the end of articles refer to staff contributions to Pesticides News. Abbreviations and acronyms used ACP Advisory Committee on Pesticides CRA Comparative Risk Assessment EA Environment Agency (UK) EC European Commission EPA Environmental Protection Agency (US) EU European Union FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations FFS Farmer Field School FSA Food Standards Agency HSE Health and Safety Executive ILO International Labour Organisation IPM Integrated pest management LD50 lethal dose for 50% of population µg/kg parts per billion MRLs Maximum Residue Limits mg/l parts per million NGO Non government organisation OECD Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development OP Organophosphate (pesticide) PAN Pesticide Action Network PIC Prior Informed Consent PN Pesticides News UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
© Pesticide Action Network UK Please credit Pesticide Action Network UK
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PAN UK appeal
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PAN UK launches 25th anniversary appeal PAN UK is now the only charity in the UK focusing solely on the problems of global pesticide use. But our future is at risk – just when our work is more urgent than ever. The financial crisis has hit our funding hard and we have seen our income cut in half in the last year. Without your support we will struggle to continue our fight against the abuse and effects of toxic chemicals. PAN UK was set up twenty-five years ago to expose and tackle the damage that pesticides cause to human health and the environment. In recent years, most environmental organisations have chosen to streamline their work, leaving the issue of pesticides to our expertise. Today, our work is more vital than ever. Pesticide use continues to grow: tens of thousands of people in the developing world die every year from accidental pesticide poisoning and countless more have their lives blighted by chronic illness. And alarmingly more than 250,000 people take their own lives using pesticides every year, many of them poor farmers who have been driven to despair by debt and unfair trading systems. It is a cruel irony that they end up taking their own lives using the very pesticides that forced them into debt in the first place. PAN UK trains African farmers to use organic and low input techniques. We have worked to create markets for products like organic cotton, so that the farmers can escape
poverty without jeopardising their own – or their family’s – health. We have had some significant successes in the EU and a ban on cancer-causing pesticides is in the pipeline, but we will keep up the pressure to ensure that new EU pesticide legislation is developed and implemented properly. The current UK government recently ignored the concerns of the public and NGOs alike when it opted to make only limited changes to the current UK pesticide regime. We will be challenging this environmentally disastrous decision and we are prepared to take the fight to the courts if need be. I joined PAN UK as Director a year ago. I first started working on pesticides in the early 1990s when I saw children in the tropics – sometimes as young as seven – working with pesticides with little or no protection. PAN UK research documents that these sorts of abuses continue to occur and we will keep working to end these abuses and to see farming – whether in the UK or Africa – become more equitable and environmentally friendly. I want to see PAN UK grow and strengthen our work to bring the often concealed problems caused by pesticide use into the light. In Africa we will continue our work to dispose of the thousands of tonnes of obsolete pesticides that litter the continent and act to prevent the build up of new stockpiles. In the UK, we will be pressing the coalition govern-
ment for a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides that have been implicated in the crash in bee populations. We know that the world can easily be fed without pouring huge amounts of agrochemicals on our food. Our arguments are based on sound science and we offer realistic campaigns and practical solutions to reduce dependency on pesticides. We owe that to victims of pesticide use, to nature and to future generations. I hope you can help us continue our work. Please give as much as you can. Thank you
Keith Tyrell, Director
Donation to PAN UK 25th anniversary appeal – thank you for your support! ❏ Donating by Credit/Debit Card Please debit my credit/debit card £______ Card No___________________________ Valid from ____/____ Expiry ____/____ Issue Number ____ Security No ____ ❏ Donating by Cheque Make cheques payable to Pesticide Action Network UK
❏ Donating by Standing Order To: Bank/Building Society__________________________________ Branch Address___________________________________________ Account No___________________________ Sort Code________________________________ Commencing on the_______________________ Please pay the sum of _______ and repeat this each month/quarter/year to : PAN UK, Ac/No.6501 0734, Sort Code: 08 02 28. Name: ___________________________ Address: _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Postcode: ______________
❏ Please treat this and all future amounts as Gift Aid donations. I confirm that I have paid UK Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax that is at least equal to the amount of tax that PAN UK will reclaim on my gift. Signature___________________________ Date ________________ PAN UK, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT You can also pay online at www.pan-uk.org
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Victory! Endosulfan slated for global ban In Geneva on April 29, the infamous pesticide endosulfan was added to the list of Persistent Organic Pollutants scheduled for worldwide phaseout. The decision rewarded PAN’s 17 year campaign to get the major POPs pesticides banned everywhere. Kristin Schafer and Karl Tupper from PANNA recall the Stockholm Convention’s beginnings and report on the recent Conference of Parties. Endosulfan is a highly toxic, antiquated insecticide, and one of the last organochlorine pesticides still in use. It’s so toxic that before it was recently banned across most of West Africa, every year it killed dozens of cotton farmers by accidental poisoning. Epidemiological studies link chronic exposure to autism1, delayed puberty2, and birth defects of the male reproductive system3. And it’s also a persistent organic pollutant4 — it sticks around in the environment long after it’s been applied, it accumulates in organisms and across food chains5, and it travels the globe and contaminates ecosystems far from where it’s used6. Thanks to the hard work of PAN and our partners around the globe, momentum for a ban has been steadily growing. Just a few years ago the number of countries which had banned or were phasing out endosulfan stood at a few dozen. In the week before the Conference of Parties (CoP), it had already
been eliminated or put onto a phase-out track in more than 80 countries, with Mozambique the latest to join the list. Several countries still using endosulfan have indicated privately that they want to stop, and are hoping for a ban under the Stockholm Convention. Still, pesticide companies in India, which produces more endosulfan than any other country, had been bombarding the media and sympathetic government officials with misinformation, pulling out all stops to keep it on the market. They argued the Stockholm Convention review process had been compromised and that banning endosulfan was an EU conspiracy to get a generic pesticide off the market to increase the market share of patented insecticides. They overstated its importance to farmers and grossly exaggerated sales figures. They described it as ‘soft on bees,’ and extraordinarily claimed it had no health effects on humans. Ironically, on-theground evidence of health impacts is particu-
Table 1. Specific exemptions of the endosulfan listing Crop
Cotton bollworms, pink bollworms, aphids, jassids, whiteflies, thrips, leafroller
Bihar hairy caterpillar, yellow mites
Berry borer, stem borer
Aphids, caterpillars, tea mosquito bugs, mealybugs, scale insects, thrips, flushworm, smaller green leaf hopper, tea geometrid
Oriental tobacco bud worm, aphids
Cow peas, beans, tomato Whiteflies, aphids, leaf miner
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larly dramatic in India where three states have already banned use of the chemical. The use of endosulfan on cashew plantations in Kerala caused terrible suffering there, leaving thousands with birth defects, developmental delays, and other maladies.
The endgame for endosulfan Staff scientist Karl Tupper represented PAN North America in a strong team of environmental health advocates at the 5th official POPs meeting in Geneva in late April, where the last major POPs pesticide was listed for phase-out. Endosulfan has been winding its way through the Convention's evaluation process for several years now. It was first proposed for listing in 2007, but consideration was immediately postponed for a year. When the Convention’s expert committee finally took up the matter, India nearly ground deliberations to halt by constantly raising specious scientific and procedural objections. The committee’s review is a three stage process, with each part taking a year. At each stage India forced the committee to vote on whether to move endosulfan to the next phase, and each year India was the sole Party to object. In the end, the committee agreed that endosulfan was a persistent organic pollutant that threatened human health or the environment and that global action was necessary. In the Autumn of 2010, they recommended a global ban with time limited exemptions for certain uses, and this is exactly what the CoP agreed to impose during April’s Geneva meeting. Given India’s position and tactics in previous meetings, many civil society campaigners expected that they would block consensus and force the meeting to a vote — something unprecedented for the CoP. If the Parties voted, they surely would have voted in favour of a ban, but it is an open question as to whether they would actually take a vote, given all countries’ deep resistance to voting. While the Indian endosulfan industry did indeed continue in this manner during the CoP, the Indian government seemed to turn a corner, and waver in their opposition to a ban. Early on, they appeared to be resigned to a global phase-out, and were talking about exemptions and financial assistance for implementing alternatives. And in the end, they agreed to add endosulfan to the Convention on the condition that certain time-limited specific exemptions were allowed.
Okra, tomato, eggplant
Fruit and shoot borer, diamondback moth, aphids, jassids
Onion, potato, chillies
Global civil society campaign
Hopper and fruitflies
Aphids, caterpillar, podborer, pea semilooper
Aphids, stem borer, pink borer
White jassids, stem borer, gall midge, rice hispa
Aphids, termites, pink borer
Aphids, gall midge
Two things were critical in bringing India around. One was a pledge from developed countries to provide financial assistance to developing countries for phasing in alternatives as endosulfan is phased out. But that was always in the offing — few decisions taken don’t come with money for developing countries. But the other factor, and the one which we think pushed India over the edge, is the massive global campaign mounted by civil society groups around the world —
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International conventions Indigenous peoples, the International POPs Elimination Network, PAN groups on five continents, and especially our colleagues in India. In the run-up to Geneva, Indian activists and PAN partners everywhere campaigned to shame their government into supporting the listing. As the opening gavel fell in Geneva on 25 April, VS Achuthanandan, the Chief Minister of the state of Kerala, a state particularly hard hit by endosulfan impacts, led a fast against endosulfan. All week long — and in the months leading up the meeting — activists in India have been staging actions, talking to the media, and petitioning the government calling for a national ban and for India to support a global ban. And on the last day of the CoP, there was a general strike in Kerala to support a ban. Thanks to these resourceful and persistent activists, and in particular Jayan Chelaton from Thanal, a PAN partner group based in Kerala, India could no longer insist on continuing to use endosulfan. As Jayan said in our joint press release: ‘This is the moment we have been dreaming of. The tears of the mothers of the endosulfan victims cannot be remedied, but it will be a relief to them that there will not be any more people exposed to this toxic insecticide. It is a good feeling for them. We are happy to note that this is also victory for poor farmers, as this proves people united from all over the world can get what they demand.’
Ensuring the treaty lives up to its promise Today, 173 countries are members of the POPs treaty (the US is not among them). The initial list of 12 chemicals targeted for action has expanded to 22, and countries are making
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PAN International display at the recent Stolkholm Convention meeting
real progress implementing the treaty. Yet the pace of action is agonisingly slow. PAN and our partners continue to press governments to pick up the pace, and to resist pressure from corporate interests to weaken the treaty with loopholes and delays. Indigenous peoples from the Arctic are especially concerned and engaged, as their traditional foods continue to be among the most contaminated with harmful chemicals – chemicals that migrate to the Arctic from elsewhere on the planet. The final decision has a few loopholes (they almost always do) allowing endosulfan to be used in certain situations for the next six
Why the POPs treaty matters - one mother’s view I couldn’t take nine-month-old Connor with me when I attended my first POPs treaty meeting in Bonn in March 2000, so I took my breastmilk pump instead. I vividly remember struggling with my rusty German to convince the women in the conference center kitchen to store my milk in the deep freeze. The POPs treaty is officially known as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. It’s a completely unprecedented international agreement designed to rid the world of an entire class of chemicals that scientists and the global community agree are just too dangerous to have on the planet. These ‘POPs’ are frighteningly long-lasting (persisting for decades), concentrate up the food chain (building up in higher-level predators like humans) and travel the globe (settling in the Arctic, where levels in human tissue are astonishingly high). They’re also known to harm human health. As a nursing mother, participating in the POPs treaty meetings took on a very personal dimension: human milk — nature’s perfect food for infants — is at the very top of the food chain. PAN has been pressing for action on persistent chemicals since the early 1980s. The global network’s initial ‘Dirty Dozen’ campaign targeted many of the same chemicals now listed for global action under the POPs treaty. PAN experts, including Dr. Romeo Quijano of PAN Philippines and PAN North America colleagues, Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman and founder Monica Moore, were directly involved in advocating for a global POPs treaty in the mid-1990s. My breastmilk pump has long since been retired, but decisions made in Bonn back in 2000 — and at meetings that followed in Johannesburg and Geneva — resulted in a global agreement designed to ensure that mothers around the world would pass fewer persistent chemicals along to their nursing infants. This is a very good thing. Experts agree that breastmilk remains, hands down, the best food for infants, even with widespread presence of POPs. Yet breastfed infants are now likely to be even healthier as their mothers’ milk becomes less compromised with chemicals. Kristin Schafer
Photo: PAN International
years. The loopholes (‘specific exemptions’ in the language of the treaty) were a necessary, if unfortunate, compromise needed to get India to agree to the ban. The exemptions are for specific crop/pest combinations. For example, while most uses for endosulfan will end next year, use will be allowed to continue on coffee for five more years, but only against coffee berry borers and leaf borers. Parties who intend to make use of the exemptions are required to notify the Secretariat of their intention to do this. Still, most uses will end next summer, with a short list winding down through 2017. And then that is it: no more endosulfan. PAN will watchdog the endosulfan phase-out as we press for full and rapid implementation of this powerful treaty. Right now, we celebrate a milestone victory.
Kristin Schafer is Senior Policy Analyst, and Karl Tupper is Staff Scientist at PAN North America, email@example.com References 1. Roberts EM, English PB, Grether JK, Windham GC, Somberg L, and Wolff C, Maternal Residence Near Agricultural Pesticide Applications and Autism Spectrum Disorders among Children in the California Central Valley, Environmental Health Perspectives. 2007, 115(10): 1482–1489. 2. Roy JR, Chakraborty S, Chakraborty TR, Estrogenlike endocrine disrupting chemicals affecting puberty in humans--a review, Medical Science Monitor 2009,15(6):RA137-45. 3. Saiyed H, Dewan A, Bhatnagar V, Shenoy U, Shenoy R, Rajmohan H, et al. Effect of Endosulfan on Male Reproductive Development. Environmental Health Perspectives 2003, 111:1958-1962. doi:10.1289/ehp.6271 4. UNEP/POPS/POPRC.5/10/Add.2 5. Kelly BC, Gobas FA, An arctic terrestrial foodchain bioaccumulation model for persistent organic pollutants. Environmental Science and Technology, 2003 Jul 1;37(13):2966-2974. 6. Becker L, Scheringer M, Schenker U, Hungerbühler K. Assessment of the environmental persistence and long-range transport of endosulfan, Environmental Pollution, 2011;159(6):1737-43.
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Pesticide use continues to grow in Brazil Another year passes and Brazil still maintains its ranking as the world’s largest consumer of pesticides. The consequences of this unenviable record are now starting to become clearer to the wider public, as cases of contamination are published. While pesticide companies introduce new pesticide-resistant crops, civil society launches a national campaign against pesticides. AS-PTA Agricultura Familiar e Agroecologia report on the situation. According to data from the Union of Agrochemical Industries (Sindag), 986,500 tons of pesticides were consumed in 2008 (the first year Brazil attained its ranking as the world’s largest consumer of pesticides) and more than a million tons in 2009 (equivalent to 5.2 kg of agrochemical products per Brazilian per year). Although Sindag itself and other agribusiness sources issued statements commemorating these figures, exalting the use of agrochemicals as ‘the application of technology’, little by little the national press began to publish news stories connecting the abuse of pesticides to food contamination, environmental damage and health issues. Undoubtedly because of the negative impact of these media reports, this year Sindag published no data on the volume of pesticides sold in 2010: it merely reported that the value of the sales achieved over the period was US$ 7.2 billions. It did, however, emphasise that this value represented a 9% increase over the previous year.
idents, artesian wells, and samples of air and rainwater taken from public schools in the municipalities of Lucas do Rio Verde and Campo Verde (another of the state’s large grain producers)2. Monitoring pools of water revealed that 32% contained pesti-
cides. More than 40% of the rainwater samples analysed were contaminated by pesticides. According to the researchers, much of this contamination comes from the heavy crop spraying carried out in the region. Researchers have also investigated the presence of agrochemicals in water elsewhere in the country, including an important fruit-growing region that makes widespread use of irrigation3. This study was undertaken in the municipality of Limoeiro do Norte, in Ceará (northeast region), by the Federal University of Ceará. Twentyfour samples were collected from public and domestic taps and cisterns. Pesticides were detected in all the samples. At least five different ingredients were found in public cisterns alone, where water is stored to be distributed to homes. In one of these cisterns, eight types of pesticides were identified. At some collection points more than 12 different ingredients were detected in the same water sample.
New research shows the true scale of contamination
Research undertaken at the Federal University of Mato Grosso and published in March 2011 revealed that in Lucas do Rio Verde (Mato Grosso) even breast milk is contaminated by agrochemicals1. Lucas is the second largest grain producer in the state, which for its part is the second largest grain producer in the country. Milk samples were collected from 62 women between the third and eighth week after delivery. At least one type of agrochemical was found in 100% of samples. In 85% of cases between two and six types were encountered. One of the variables studied, miscarriage, was associated with the presence of three different pesticides. The substance most frequently identified is DDE, a derivative of DDT, banned in Brazil in 1998 for provoking infertility in men and miscarriages in pregnant women. In September 2010, a study undertaken by the same university in partnership with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation found pesticide residues in the blood and urine of res-
Family farmers in Paraíba State demonstrating against GMOs and pesticides Photo: AS-PTA Agricultura Familiar e Agroecologia
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Timeline of new pesticide-resistant crops in Brazil June 2009
Dow Agrochemical (US)
Permission from CTNBio* to undertake field tests in the country for a new soy variety tolerant to application of the herbicide 2,4-D. This product, marketed in Brazil under the name ‘Tordon,’ is one of the two components of the herbicide known as ‘agent orange,’ manufactured by Dow and Monsanto
Partnership involving BASF and Embrapa
CTNBio authorized the sale of GM soya tolerant to herbicides based on imidazolinone compounds. These new seeds were also advocated as an alternative for controlling weeds no longer kept in check in the RR soya system due to the development of glyphosate resistance
March 2011 Coodetec, a cooperative based in Paraná
Reports on the development of a new variety of soya tolerant to herbicides based on sulphonylurea compounds5
March 2011 Partnership between Dow and Monsanto (both US)
Reports that they had produced a GM maize variety resistant to two herbicides, glyphosate and glufosinate. Called Powercore, the produce has already been approved by CTNBio6. Now Monsanto has signed a partnership agreement with BASF to develop crops tolerant to the herbicide dicamba produced by the latter (for which there are no products registered yet in Brazil). According to Monsanto, dicamba tolerance is associ ated with glyphosate tolerance – in other words, farmers would be able to use both agro chemicals on the same crop7
* CTNBio - National Technical Commission on Biosafety, responsible for assessing and authorising the release of GMOs in Brazil
Transgenics and pesticides – a vicious cycle The enormous quantity of herbicides applied to Brazil’s crops means that weeds are becoming ever more resistant to the technology, adding to problems for farmers. According to Embrapa, 18 herbicideresistant weed species have been found in the country to date. Five of these species are resistant to glyphosate (Coniza spp, Lolium multiflorum, Digitaria insularis and Euphorbia heterophylla)4. Development of glyphosate resistance among weeds is mainly caused by the widespread use of transgenic crops tolerant to the product. But, unsurprisingly, the same industry that created the Roundup Ready (glyphosate resistant) technology and pushed for its dissemination is now hurrying to provide a solution to the anticipated problem: crops tolerant to new (and more toxic) products (see Box). Clearly if this path is pursued, use of pesticides will only increase, as will the problems related to contamination of the environment, food and people.
curbing the use of agrochemicals and preventing their expansion. In a context of climate change, energy crises and the depletion of natural resources, producing healthy food based on agroecological principles, on small farm properties, respecting nature and workers, is the only viable way of ensuring a better quality of life for current and future generations. References (in Portuguese) 1. Exclusivo: A pesquisadora que descobriu veneno no leite materno. Vi o mundo, 26/03/2011. http://bit.ly/fFZDGU 2. Boletim 505 Por um Brasil Livre de Transgênicos. AS-PTA, 03/09/2010. http://bit.ly/h9Vqz2 3. O sal da terra. Carta Capital, 24/08/2010. http://bit.ly/ey9VaL
4. PR: Dia de Campo da Embrapa Soja faz balanço sobre a situação de plantas daninhas resistentes a herbicida. Página Rural, 04/03/2011. http://bit.ly/e7CvsX 5. Soja tolerante a herbicidas do grupo das sulfonilureias. Portal Dia de Campo, 14/03/2011. http://bit.ly/fRanWU 6. Nova tecnologia para o milho da Dow AgroSciences é aprovada. Business Wire, 16/03/2011. http://bit.ly/gl30Ny 7. BASF and Monsanto Take Dicamba Tolerant Cropping System Collaboration to the Next Level. PR Newswire, 14/03/2011. http://prn.to/gDFHPP
GM-FREE BRAZIL - Published by ASPTA Agricultura Familiar e Agroecologia. The GM-Free Brazil Campaign is a collective of Brazilian NGOs, social movements and individuals. firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign against pesticides Faced by this alarming reality, more than 30 entities from Brazil’s civil society, social movements, environmental organizations, students, organisations linked to health issues and groups of researchers launched the Permanent Campaign Against Agrochemicals and For Life. The campaign aims to stimulate a wide-ranging debate with the public on the lack of monitoring of the use, consumption and sale of agrochemicals and on the contamination of soils and water, as well as exposing the impacts of agrochemicals on the health of workers, rural communities and urban consumers. Along with denouncing the harm caused by the companies and by the use of agrochemicals, we need to find ways of
Outdoor billboard in Paraná claiming ‘Did you know that... GM soy uses less pesticides than the conventional soy? Inform yourself about it’. Photo: AS-PTA Agricultura Familiar e Agroecologia
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Pesticides course to strengthen developing country capacity A new course at the University of Cape Town is educating pesticide regulators from developing countries in pesticide risk management. Eloise Touni reports on this innovative approach. The global resources available for regulating and managing pesticide risks are extensive. Particularly with the advent of the internet, resource accessibility has significantly increased over the past 20 years. Pesticide risk managers and regulators have access to numerous guidance documents on various aspects of pesticide regulation on websites of the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Environmental Programme, the Organisation of Economic Development, and the International Labour Organisation to name a few. Despite the easy access and extensive content of guidance available, regulators and pesticide risk managers in developing countries and Economies in Transition (EIT) lack the capacity (human and skills) to address all the challenges they face in effectively regulating pesticides, reducing risks to humans and the environment, as well as introducing low risk approaches to pest management. To equip regulators and pesticide risk managers with the skills to implement the United Nations Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides around a life cycle approach, the University of Cape Town (UCT) and FAO in collaboration with the Swedish Chemical Agency (KemI) designed and developed a new Post Graduate Programme focusing on capacity building.
Pesticides course is a ‘first’ The Faculty of Health Sciences at UCT cel-
ebrated the launch of the inaugural Postgraduate Diploma in Pesticide Risk Management on Thursday, 31 March 2011, convened by Dr Andrea Rother, Health Risk Management Programme Head in the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research. The course brought together students from countries as diverse as Fuji and St Lucia, as well as a wide range of African countries including Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo, UCT’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor officially welcomed the 18 students, who were on campus for two weeks, before returning to their home countries to continue the coursework online, making use of the University's on-line teaching ‘Vula’ system. Professor Nhlapo explained that this type of programme is seen as being very important within the framework of the University's academic plan as Afropolitanism remains a University-wide strategic priority. ‘People who are assets in our countries don't have to go abroad to study the issues of Africa, and we are not sitting in South Africa, isolated from the rest of Africa and its issues,’ he said. Dr Rother acknowledges the role of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, who approached her two years ago to initiate the course around the UN Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides, which covers issues around the regulation of pesticides, the health effects of pesticide use, and toxicology and ecotoxicology training.
Participants in the inaugural Postgraduate Diploma in Pesticide Risk Management are photographed with programme convenor, Dr Andrea Rother (front, second left) and UCT’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo (front, third left).
Modules in the course Pesticide Risk Management Health and Safety Management Management of Environmental Risk Alternatives and Risk Reduction Strategies ● Quality Assurance in Pesticide Risk Management ● Pesticide Storage and Transport ● Obsolete Pesticide Management ● Containers and Contaminated Site Management ● Chemical Conventions ● Public Health and Pesticides ● ● ● ●
The FAO is one of the funders of the course, the other being the Swedish Chemical Agency (KemI). Mark Davis of the FAO stated that ‘Raising capacity among pesticide regulators in developing countries is a high priority if progress is to be made in reducing risks from pesticides and gaining better control over their trade and use, within the context of FAO’s stated priority to support sustainable crop production intensification. Investing in high quality training opportunities is an extremely powerful and sustainable way of giving access to capacity development opportunities. The postgraduate course at the University of Cape Town makes the most advanced thinking and experience in pesticides management available to students from anywhere in the world. The collaboration between FAO, UCT and several other organisations and individuals who have contributed to development of the course is an experiment which is already, after less than a year of running the first course, yielding very positive results, and we look forward to taking this initiative further.’ Professor Mohamed Jeebhay, acting head of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine, thanked Dr Rother for her efforts in establishing this course, which he described as ‘another feather in our cap in terms of our outreach programmes’. Students on the course are already noticing its benefits. Patrick Nyirenda, from the Environmental Affairs Department in Malawi stated ‘As an environmental officer responsible for pollution control, I find the course very relevant and suitable for this time. I have actually applied some of the principles during our routine inspections and even when reviewing environmental impact assessment reports for estates where pesticides will be used to control pests. In fact my supervisor has already found my contribution towards pesticide management very helpful and has already told me to be one of the critical reviewers of any EIA report where pesticide management is involved. Thanks to whoever came up with this idea of hosting this course and all lecturers involved.’
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EU undermines need for independent science in pesticide approval For many years European government decisions on pesticides were based almost solely on industry toxicity tests. Whether these tests can be trusted after several major cases of fraud in the past, remains the big question. Hans Muilerman from PAN Europe investigates. In the new EU pesticides regulation concerning putting pesticides on the market (Regulation 1107/2009) the European Parliament and Council decided registration decisions should no longer rely only on industry tests, but should also take into account independent scientific peer-reviewed research in evaluating unwanted effects.
Flawed guidance The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was responsible for providing relevant guidance, and has published this guideline in 2011. In a draft version of the guideline (August 2010) EFSA simply changed the Regulation by removing the ‘peer-reviewed, open’ part of the description of independent research, and opened the gates for all kinds of non-reviewed grey studies and secondary research studies. In the final version1 the original definition was reinstated under high pressure, but even with the right definition EFSA managed to change the intentions of the provision, for example by allowing industry to make a selection of independent studies based on narrow criteria. Standard tests (like the ones done by industry) are seen as those of highest reliability; non-standard (like those of independent scientists) of lowest reliability and allowed to be disregarded. Additionally, industry is allowed to use ‘relevance’ criteria in the selection, disregarding research which does not follow established (OECD) protocols on doses and exposure routes. This again will
cause industry tests to be seen as relevant and independent tests largely irrelevant. EFSA states they want to prevent biased toxicological research being included; however the proposal of EFSA will lead to the contrary. Excluding industry bias in toxicity testing should instead be the main objective of EFSA in their guideline. This is the reason why politicians put the provision for scientific peer-reviewed open literature in the Regulation in the first place and EFSA has no right to undermine a democratic decision.
Lab testing not always unbiased Industry testing has always been the weak spot in risk assessment. Following the fraud committed by the Industrial Bio-test (IBT) commercial laboratory in the US in the eighties (bringing into question 15% of all pesticides in the US), the US developed ‘Good Laboratory Practices’ (GLP) to try to prevent such fraud in the future. However the Craven Labs fraud in the nineties demonstrated that industry tests could be biased whether they used GLP or not. GLP is a management, and not a quality, system, and creates the semblance of reliable and valid science, but it actually offers no such guarantee. GLP specifies nothing about the quality of the research design, the skills of the technicians, the sensitivity of the assays, or whether the methods employed are current or out-of-date. GLP simply indicates that the laboratory technicians/scientists performing
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Future for the course UCT has recently opened its call for applications for the 2012/2013 intake of students. UCT is also in the process of offering the modules as short courses. Once this programme is established, the Programme Convenor, Dr. Rother will be starting on the process of having the materials translated and partnering with other universities so as to offer the course in French, Russian and Chinese. Organisations promoting judicious use of pesticides and risk reduction are encouraged to support this programme by making contributions to the bursary fund attached to these courses so that students
meeting the entrance criteria for the course can have access to funding support. Interested organisations should contact Dr. Rother directly for more information on the bursary programme. Anyone interested in applying for the 2012/13 intake can contact email@example.com
Eloise Touni is a freelance international consultant on pesticide management, including on obsolete pesticides and international regulations governing pesticides. firstname.lastname@example.org; http://gr.linkedin.com/in/eloisetouni
experiments follow highly detailed EU/OECD requirements for record keeping, including details of the conduct of the experiment and archiving relevant biological and chemical materials (see reference 2 also for the extreme reliance of agencies on GLP). With GLP, agencies incorrectly justify the ‘robustness’ of industry testing and simultaneously – and most worryingly – the inadequacy of peer-reviewed, published and independent studies. So rather than use the new mandate presented by the new Regulation to rely less on industry data, EFSA plans to use the same tool, GLP, to keep on removing independent studies from consideration. In the case of the controversial chemical bisphenol A, GLP studies used outdated test designs and insensitive animal strains. They reported the ages of animals used inconsistently, significant differences in prostate weight were ignored and still regulators considered them reliable3. It appears that regulators are blind to flaws in industry testing.
Funding bias Industry bias is all around. For example, Lesser and colleagues looked at research on the health effects of various soft drinks. The proportion of studies with unfavourable conclusions was 0% for all industry funded studies versus 37% for non-industry-funded studies4. Tobacco research is another well-known case of industry-bias where affiliations with the tobacco industry were 88 times more likely to conclude that passive smoking is not harmful5. For pharmaceuticals, innumerable reviews have found that industry funding is tightly correlated with results favourable to the sponsor while the independent results are random. Far fewer comparisons of industry versus independent studies have been performed for industrial chemicals (including pesticides), but in the four known such reviews the same relationship is found: industry sponsorship seems to cause favourable results, while the independent literature finds both safety and risk6,7,8,9.
Disregarding independent science The EFSA guideline on the use of science in decision making is a big disappointment. Though EFSA restored the original definition from Regulation 1107/2009 (requiring peerreviewed, open independent research), it continues to place industry/GLP studies at the highest level of reliability and independent studies much lower. EFSA places many restrictions on independent science, allowing industry (which is given the task of collecting the independent science) to disregard virtually all independent science as irrelevant or unreliable in dossier preparation. This is contrary to what Parliament and Council intended in the development of pesticide Regulation by balancing industry/GLP studies with independent science. Only one sentence states (Ch. 5.4.2), ‘it must be emphasised that compliance with GLP standards should not be considered as a
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Self-monitoring for self-protection Pesticides used on cotton are particularly toxic, and in Senegalese communities, where they are used in unsafe ways and without understanding of their hazards, serious adverse health effects are common. Training communities to monitor use and health impacts in the cotton-growing zone of Velingara in Senegal is starting to improve practices. Dr Alassane Sarr and Mourtada Thiam from PAN Africa report. The problem of pesticide health effects in cotton growing systems in Senegal is widely acknowledged, but few data exist to document their extent and little headway has been made in modifying farmer practices to reduce them. The community monitoring approach is an effective way to monitor and report the health impacts of pesticides observed at local levels. It also explicitly aims to empower local communities to address their situation themselves and get actively involved in solving their problems. The approach used is based on
Community Pesticide Action Monitoring (CPAM), originally developed in Asia but now adapted by PAN groups and used worldwide1,2,3,4. CPAM is a tool to document and create awareness of pesticide impacts on human health and the environment, based on Participatory Action Research (PAR). It involves the community members who undertake the research and discuss in their own language their experience of pesticide use. PAN Africa and PAN UK have undertaken a community based monitoring (CBM)
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References 1. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/ pub/2092.htm 2. Myers JP, vom Saal FS, Akingbemi BT, Arizono K, Belcher S, Colborn T, et al. Why public health agencies cannot depend on Good Laboratory Practices as a criterion for selecting data: the case of bisphenol A. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2009, 117:309–315. 3. Myers et al, op cit 2. 4. Lesser LI, et al. PLoS Med. 4(1): e5 5. Wise J, British Medical Journal, 1998, 318: 1553. 6. Bekelman JE, Yan Li and Gross CP , Scope and impact of financial conflicts of interest in biomedical research JAMA, 2003, 289(4):454-465. 7. Swaen GM and Meijers JM, Sept1988 'Influence of design characteristics on the outcome of retrospective cohort studies' Br J Ind Med 45(9):624-9. 8. Fagin D, and Lavelle M, 1999 'Toxic Deception: How the Chemical Industry Manipulates Science, Bends the Law and Endangers Your Health'. Common Courage Press, 2nd Ed., Monroe, ME, USA. 9. vom Saal FS and Hughes C, An Extensive New Literature Concerning Low-Dose Effects of Bisphenol A Shows the Need for a New Risk Assessment, Environmental Health Perspectives, 2005, 113:926-933. 10. Klimisch H-J, Andreae M and Tillmann U, A Systematic Approach for Evaluating the Quality of Experimental Toxicological and Ecotoxicological Data, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 25, 1-5, 1997. 11. Becker RA American Chemistry Council, Janus ER Crop Life America, White RD American Petroleum Institute, Kruszewski FH Soap and Detergent Association, Brackett RE, Grocery Manufacturers Association, Good Laboratory Practices and Safety Assessments, Environmental Health Perspectives, 2009. 117(11).
guarantee of reliability’. There is no further explanation or argument. However for independent literature, pages of text are used by EFSA to discuss relevance and reliability. Many restrictions are proposed to enable independent literature to be disqualified. Industry is allowed to disregard independent literature if it uses a different test animal, route of exposure, or specific test design (pp15-16). Industry can even cynically disregard literature if the purity/impurity of a chemical is not stated, while many pesticides are allowed on the market in Europe with unknown impurities and/or on the basis of industry tests performed for pesticide approval with unspecified purity of chemicals. Furthermore, industry is allowed to disregard independent studies if it defines them as not reliable. Reliability assessment can be based on industry studies like that of Klimisch10, a study by BASF employees published in an industry journal, which says that industry/GLP studies are the highest ranking and independent studies only reliable with restrictions or even unreliable. Criteria for an assessment are derived from another (non peer-reviewed) industry paper11, which will result in even more disqualifications for independent science and keep science at a distance, just as in the past. EFSA here shows its true colours by choosing the side of big industry.
Hans Muilerman is Chemicals Officer for PAN Europe; email@example.com
Using an empty pesticide container to draw water is a common practice and causes numerous incidents Photo: PAN Africa
survey in the main cotton growing zone in Senegal. This initiative aims to document the health impacts of pesticides at community level, with a focus on conditions of use. The project is implemented in the arrondissement of Saré Coly Sallé in the department of Velingara, which is the largest of the cottongrowing regions of Senegal, located 570 km from the capital Dakar. The project includes awareness on pesticides hazards and safe management, training on community-based monitoring for cotton farmers, and conducting the monitoring survey itself.
Baseline study A preliminary study conducted by PAN Africa in 2009 in the area showed that hazardous pesticides are routinely used in unsafe conditions5. The pesticides users are often illiterate and don’t wear adequate protective personal equipment (PPE) when spraying pesticides. The cotton farmers are often untrained and unaware of health and environmental impacts of pesticides. They often store pesticides within their homes and re-use the empty pesticide containers as water vessels. 95% of those interviewed did not use PPE, while more producers spray against the wind (74%) than with the wind. The farmers report a number of health symptoms after spraying pesticides, most commonly headaches (61%), blurred vision (59%), excessive sweating (57%) and nausea and vomiting (23%).
Awareness-raising of local farming communities Six Awareness sessions were organised on pesticides hazards and safe management for four villages and two schools, which attracted 214 cotton farmers and 200 school students. The meetings with cotton farmers took place in the village square and comprised cotton farmers and their family members (women and children). The discussions highlighted the urgent need for cotton farmers to have key information on pesticides hazards, to strengthen the capacities on safe pesticides handling and to encourage the use of alterna-
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tive pest control methods. A number of awareness materials (such as posters, video, leaflet) developed with the support of Africa Stockpiles Program (ASP) were given to the cotton farmers and school students.
‘When SODEFITEX gives me my allocation of pesticides, I keep them where I think they’ll be safest – in my bedroom’. Training of cotton farmers PAN Africa organised a three day CPAM session to train cotton farmers to carry out interviews with pesticides users and other community members. The workshop was attended by 25 participants from four rural communities in Saré Coly Salé. Participants were trained in the use of community-based monitoring tools and interviewing techniques to encourage self-monitoring of use and health impacts of pesticides.
Self monitoring by cotton farmer household members Following the training sessions, trained monitors conducted a monitoring survey in their own communities. The objective of the survey is to assess current pesticide use and effects on the community members who extensively use the cotton pesticides. This study aimed to generate a community-specific monitoring framework by documenting pesticides use and their effects. Specifically, the survey focused on: ● highlighting the problem pesticides under actual conditions of use ● documenting specific pesticides incidents ● collecting information about the use of pesticides alternatives and empty containers management The community monitoring survey took place between February and May 2011, and was conducted by 12 monitors from local cotton farming communities. In total 1183 farm-
PAN Africa team meets the cotton farmers and their family members in square of Ngoumbou Coly village Photo: PAN Africa
ers were interviewed in 174 villages for the survey. Data were gathered through face-toface interviews using a structured questionnaire. The questionnaires covered personal detail of respondents (such as identity, background, sex, age, ethnicity, marital status), household environment, pesticides use and identity, product identity, understanding of pesticides hazards and alternatives, purchasing and storage of pesticides, containers disposal and adverse effects of pesticides. The data gathered is in the process of being analysed, and will be reported in detail.
‘We know that pesticides are bad for our health – but they are the only way we have to fight pests. It’s as if you offered a knife to someone who was drowning – they’d have to seize it with their hand’
Conclusion The participants at the awareness raising sessions recognised the serious health issues associated with cotton pesticides, and the need to take preventive measures to reduce risks. They confirmed that the sessions had been useful in learning about both risks and safer practices, and stressed the importance of sharing this knowledge among their families and others. The students at the schools committed themselves to inform their family members about what they had learnt, and help them take necessary steps towards better pesticide management. The teachers also valued the sessions, with one teacher in Saré Coly Sallé explaining that it was useful to learn what specific health risks exist (cancer, sterility, etc), rather than simply being aware that ‘pesticides are dangerous’. Those who were trained in the community monitoring methodologies aim to establish permanent monitoring activities with support from PAN Africa and other stakeholders in the zone. They called on the government, SODEFITEX (the cotton board) and other actors in the supply chain to address the problems cotton pesticides pose and prevent more people becoming victims of their effects. References 1. PAN Mali, 2009. Monitoring communautaire de l’impact des pesticides sur la santé et l’environnement à Sikasso au Mali. Rapport final. 2. PAN Africa, 2010. Monitoring des pesticides au niveau de la base. Rapport régional Afrique. 53 p. 3. PAN AP 2010. Communities in Peril: Asian regional report on community monitoring of highly hazardous pesticide use. 4. PAN, 2010. Communities in Peril. Global report on health impacts of pesticide use in agriculture. 5. PAN, op cit 4.
Alassane Sarr is Program Officer for the obsolete pesticides programme (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Mourtada Thiam is Project Officer for field projects (email@example.com), both at PAN Africa. Participants at the CPAM training session
Photo: PAN Africa
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From ‘spraying to death’ to judicious use in Kenya Kenyan farmers rely greatly on the use of pesticides in agricultural production of fresh export vegetables sold in European countries. Stringent EU pesticide standards have introduced a new order in the use of pesticides in production of fresh vegetables destined for sale in developed countries. Julius Okello from the University of Nairobi shows that compliance with these standards has positive effects on farmers’ triple bottom lines. Most developing country farmers producing for international markets rely on pesticides for agricultural production1,2 particularly in tropical climates where the warmth and humidity exacerbate pest and disease problems3. Due to standards for cosmetic quality in export markets for fresh fruits and vegetables, the use of pesticides has been especially pronounced in production of these products in the tropics. Production and export of fresh produce from Kenya to Europe increased substantially in the 1990s and 2000s4. Figure 1 presents the trends in exports of green beans by Kenya to Europe. It shows a fast growth in beans destined for the United Kingdom (UK). A majority of European consumers demand aesthetic quality attributes such as spotlessness that generally encourage increased use of pesticides6. The demand for these cosmetic quality attributes (colour, shape, spotlessness) has been held responsible for increasing pesticide use in the production of fresh exports from developing countries7, 8. Concern with the consequences of excessive use of pesticides on consumers’ medical health and safety of farm workers and the
environment in general led European country governments to revise their pesticide residue standards. These revised European Pesticide Standards (EPS) have introduced a new order in the use of pesticides in production of fresh vegetables destined for sale in developed countries. They require that i) only pesticides that are least hazardous to farmers and farmworkers, other non-target species and consumers be used in production of vegetables for exports, and ii) farmers and pesticide applicants handle, apply and discard leftover pesticides responsibly in order to reduce the hazards they pose to non-target animal and plant species. These requirements are reinforced by farmer training on safe use, storage and disposal of pesticides and enforced via close monitoring for compliance. We examine the effect of implementation and enforcement of EPS in the green bean industry in Kenya, and discuss these effects in the context of benefits to farm households and the environment and costs of complying with EPS. The article focuses on health costs of exposure to pesticides, the use of environmentally-friendly pest and disease control strategies and the
Figure 1. Major destination markets for Kenyan green beans (tonnes) 1992-20045
Pesticide applicator wearing the recommended gear under EPS Photo credit: Julius Okello
changes in consumer margins resulting from compliance with EPS.
The context Kenya traditionally channels virtually all of its fresh vegetable exports to Western Europe, with very small quantities going to Australia/New Zealand, South Africa, and Dubai. The bulk of the exports go to the UK. Within the UK, the leading retailers of Kenyan beans are Waitrose, Tesco, Marks and Spencer, and Sainsbury’s. These major retailers control 70% of Kenyan green bean trade. These leading UK retailers developed very stringent standards relating to pesticide usage, among others, in response to European food safety scandals of the 1990s. They have subsequently passed on these standards to sourcing agents or suppliers in developing countries who have in turn developed their own codes of practice relating to how pesticides may be handled, applied, and stored. Thus a developing country farmer is often subject to diverse standards ranging from international to domestic, with the latter induced by the former. Table 1 presents the kinds of standards a green bean farmer growing beans for a European retailer will typically be subject to. The domestic industry, private and public standards are usually drawn from the foreign standards especially those of the markets targeted by the exporter. Most green bean family farmers therefore comply with standards that encompass the requirements of UK industry standards (such as, British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Global Good Agricultural Practices (GlobalGAP)), private retailer standards (such as Nature’s Choice
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Table 1. Array of food safety standards in operation in the Kenyan green bean industry9 Foreign standards
British Retail Consortium (BRC) GlobalGAP Ethical Trading Initiative HACCP Tesco’s Nature’s Choice Marks & Spencer’s Farm to Fork Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS)
i) Industry KenyaGAP Horticultural Ethical Business Initiative ii) Exporter code of practices iii) Public Kenya Bureau of Standards HCDA code of practices
HACCP = Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points; HCDA = Horticultural Crop Development Authority
and Farm to Fork) and public sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS). The diverse standards promote pesticide usage practices aimed at protecting farmers and the environment from hazards of pesticide exposure. That is, the EPS promotes the use of pesticide exposure averting and mitigating strategies. Among these the use of protective clothing, use of pesticides only after pest scouting reveals the need, and regular maintenance of spraying equipment are strictly enforced under EPS. The photograph on page 12 illustrates the dress code for pesticide applicators under EPS. So do these standards improve farmers’ medical health and benefit the environment? This article draws on a study based on 180 green bean family farmers in 30 villages in Central and Eastern Kenya. The farmers were stratified by compliance with EPS. The study was conducted between October 2003 and June 2004. In order to assess the effect of EPS on farmers’ health and environment, the study analysed the toxicity of the pesticides used by compliant and non-compliant farmers. Toxicity of the pesticides reported by farmers was looked up from the World Health Organisation (WHO) toxicity classification while direct (cost of treatment) and indirect (missed work days) costs of pesticide poisoning were measured. Full details of these methods are described elsewhere10,11. Financial benefit of compliance with EPS was assessed using gross margins for two distinct farmer groups. Detailed cost and output data was gathered from six carefully selected green bean farmers in the study areas. Of the
Figure 2. Health costs of exposure to pesticides for EPScompliant and non-complaint farmers (in thousand Ksh)
six farmers, three were producing beans for exporters who supplied UK supermarkets and hence routinely monitored compliance with EPS under a contract while the other three sold their beans in the spot market, hence no EPS monitoring. All the six farmers had 0.5 acres under green beans, which was mean farm size for small family farms for the last crop of green beans grown in 2003.
The findings Finding 1: EPS reduces pesticiderelated cost of illness The study found that EPS reduces the health costs of exposure to pesticides. After controlling for other factors, notably farmer specific factors (such as education, gender, and income) and farmer behaviour (cigarette smoking and alcohol intake) among others, the study found that costs of pesticide induced illnesses were statistically significantly lower for farmers that complied with EPS than for their counterparts. As expected, results also showed that the primary pesticide applicators incur higher health costs than those who do not handle pesticides. The use of pesticide exposure mitigating and averting strategies (such as use of protecting clothing and changing clothes after spraying) reduces the health effects of pesticide exposure. Figure 2 compares the health costs of exposure to pesticides for EPS-compliant and non-compliant farmers. The reduced exposure to pesticides through judicious use contributed greatly to lowering the health costs among EPS compliant farmers.
Finding 2: EPS promotes the use of alternative pest and disease management strategies
Finding 3: Effect of EPS on margins earned by green bean farmers A major concern of many developing country exporters upon the onset of EPS was that the standards would marginalise poor family farmers12,13. However, as shown in Figure 3, EPS compliant farmers received higher revenues from the growing beans than their counterparts. The average gross margin for compliant farmers was 13% higher than for their counterparts indicating that EPS do not in practice marginalise poor family farmers. The higher revenues obtained by monitored farmers resulted primarily from selling more beans due to better access to UK markets than the unmonitored. Interestingly, EPS compliant farmers did not receive a premium price from their buyers despite having to comply with the EPS14. Hence the higher revenues resulted from the greater access to UK markets that EPS farmers have through dependable supply contract with an EU exporter.
Conclusions This research found that compliance with European pesticide standards (EPS) reduces the health costs associated with exposure to pesticides through reduced incidence of pesticide-induced acute illness. Farmers who comply with EPS incurred much lower health costs than those who do not. The paper also found that compliance with EPS promotes the use of integrated pest and disease management strategies. The judicious use of pesticides has implications for sustainable production of non-traditional fresh exports in developing countries as it changes farmers’ ‘spray to death’ attitude, hitherto prevalent among suppliers of markets that insist on aesthetic quality attributes. The study further found that while compliance with EPS increases the cost of green production, higher revenues result in profit margins earned by EPS-compliant farmers that exceed those of their domestic non-compliant counterparts. These higher margins emanate from greater access to the export market by farmers monitored under contracts. This study therefore concludes that compliance with EPS brings health and environmental benefits in addition to the acknowl-
Figure 3. Comparison of revenues, costs and gross margins of producing green beans with and without EPS, Kenya, 2005 (in thousand Ksh)15
The results of the regression model used to test the effect of complying with EPS on the alternative methods of pest and disease control found a very strong positive effect even after controlling for farmer specific and behavioural factors. The results showed that farmers who comply with EPS depended much more on non-pesticide strategies for controlling pests and diseases. These strategies fall under the integrated pest management practices which are widely known to have beneficial effects on the environment.
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Developing countries edged access to high value overseas markets. Contrary to early concerns that EPS compliance would marginalise poor family farmers, the study find that EPS compliance has brought financial gains and many Kenyan smallholder farmers have found cooperative ways to gain access to these export markets16. References 1. Thrupp LA, Bergeron G and Waters WF,1995, Bittersweet Harvest for Global Supermarkets: Challenges in Latin America's Export Boom. Washington, DC: Natural Resources Institute 2. Maumbe BM, and Swinton SM, 2003, Hidden costs of pesticide use in Zimbabwe's smallholder cotton growers. Social Science and Medicine 57: 1559-1571 3. Okello JJ, 2005. Compliance with international food safety standards: The case of green bean production in Kenyan family farms. PhD dissertation, Agricultural Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA. 4. Okello JJ, Narrod C and Roy D. 2008. Smallholder compliance with international foods safety standards is not a fantasy: Evidence African green bean growers Fresh Perspectives. No. 15, April 2008. Available for download at: http://www.agrifoodstandards.net/ en/filemanager/active?fid=145 5. Okello, op cit 4. 6. Farina EMMQ and Reardon T. 2000. Agrifood grades and standards in extended Mercosur: their role in the changing agrifood systems. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 82: 1170-76 7. Thrupp, op cit 1. 8. Ohayo-Mitoko GJA. 1997. Occupational pesticide exposure among Kenyan agricultural workers: an epidemiological and public health perspectives. Dissertation, Wagenigen Agricultural University 9. Okello, op cit 4. 10. Okello JJ and Swinton SM. 2010. From circle of poison to circle of virtue: pesticides, export standards and Kenya’s green bean industry. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 61, 209-224 11. Okello JJ and Okello RM. Do EU pesticide standards promote environmentally-friendly production of fresh export vegetables in developing countries? Evidence from Kenyan green bean industry. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 2010, 12(3): 341-355. 12. Mungai N. EU rules could destroy horticulture: the protocol on good agricultural practices will have a profound impact on both large and small-scale farmers, although the biggest impact will be on the latter. Daily Nation. 7 May, 2004, p11. 13. Okello, op cit 3. 14. Okello, op cit 3. 15. Okello JJ and Swinton SM. A race to the top, but at what cost? Kenyan green bean farmers’ struggle to comply with international food safety standards. Selected poster paper presented at American Agricultural Economics Association meeting, Providence, Rhode Island, 24-27, 2005. 16. Okello JJ and Swinton SM. Compliance with international food safety standards in Kenya's green bean industry: comparison of a small and a large scale family farm producing for export. Review of Agricultural Economics, 2007, 29: 269-285.
Julius J Okello, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nairobi. firstname.lastname@example.org. The author acknowledges funding for this study from World Bank, Michigan State University’s Graduate School and the Elton Smith Endowment. The contributions of Scott Swinton of Michigan State University to this study are also gratefully acknowledged.
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Campaign hero – Nick Mole The Pesticide Action Network campaigner, Nick Mole, is interviewed by Matilda Lee on why and how the government should urgently implement EU legislation on pesticides to protect human health and the environment. What has been your most successful campaign to date? Being part of the team, along with our European colleagues, responsible for ensuring that the new EU legislation on pesticides is as strong as it could have been. What has been your least successful campaign to date? Persuading the current government that the new EU legislation on pesticides needs to be implemented fully and not left to voluntary measures or industry initiatives. What gets you out of bed when you're at your lowest? My daughter practising the violin in the kitchen. Corporations: work with them or against them? Generally PAN UK works against the corporations involved in the agrochemical business. In the past our words have been used out of context to make it appear as if we are supporting their goals so we have to be very careful as an organisation not to appear to be endorsing their activities. That said we would offer encouragement if we thought that any of the ‘big six' agchems companies were genuinely trying to reduce dependence upon pesticides, but to date we have seen no evidence to suggest that might be the case. What is the best way to motivate people? By highlighting the positives and showing people that real change is achievable. What is the best way of reaching politicians? Through the people that vote for them. Sadly politics today is all about getting yourself re-elected rather than the conviction politics of the past. What is the most important thing to avoid when campaigning? Dwelling too long on the negatives or temporary failings of your campaign. Most important thing government could do this year? By implementing the new EU pesticide legislation the government could (and should): ban the use of pesticides in certain places such as schools, parks and hospitals; introduce a statutory requirement that residents must be notified before any pesticide spraying event; begin a targeted program of phasing out the most toxic pesticides; introduce strict guidelines and develop support and extension services for the promotion of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Most important thing individuals could do this year? Write to their local MP and demand that they support a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides to help prevent further losses of bee and other pollinator species. What makes a good campaigner? Tenacity, perseverance and the ability to sometimes admit you might not have got things right. What (other) campaign has caught your attention recently? I am really impressed by a lot of the campaigns around the issue of slow food. The Real Bread Campaign has really caught my eye and I think is doing great work highlighting the value and importance of bread not only in our diets but as a part of our society. And of course the ongoing work of the Campaign for Real Ale remains an inspiration. Who is your campaign hero (past or present)? Debbie Banks, the head of the Tiger Campaign at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). Years of dedication to a vital cause and kind and generous too. This article originally appeared on www.theecologist.org. The Ecologist’s premium content is available, by subscription, for institutions with Multi-Users. Visit http://www.exacteditions.com/library/ecologist to see a sample and learn more about how to subscribe. http://www.theecologist.org/how_to_make_a_difference/cleaner_air_water_land/847839/campaign _hero_nick_mole_pesticide_action_network.html (Accessed 19 May 2011)
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Roundup and birth defects – is the public being kept in the dark? June 2011 saw the publishing of what could be one of the most significant reports highlighting the way in which regulators and the pesticide manufacturing industry conspire to keep the facts about the potential harm pesticides can do to human health hidden from the public. In this report by a group of international scientists, the researchers summarise the independent literature on glyphosate effects, and call on the EC to carry out an objective review urgently. The report Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?1 outlines how the regulatory authorities in the EU dismissed evidence that glyphosate and Roundup can cause birth defects even at low doses. It also shows how the pesticide manufacturers base their findings on toxicological studies that are biased towards their point of view, that is, that the substance is safe for use. The report as a whole makes some excellent recommendations, not least that there should be an immediate suspension of the use of glyphosate until all the scientific studies have been reassessed. It also backs up the point that PAN UK has been making for many years: that the science cannot be left in the hands of the manufacturers. There needs to be a requirement that all toxicological data is made available to independent scientists for peer review. The report is authored by some of the world’s leading experts in the area of toxicology, the ethical uses of science, genetics, ecology and agriculture: Michael Antoniou, Mohamed Ezz El-Din Mostafa Habib, Vyvyan Howard, Richard C Jennings, Carlo Leifert, Rubens Onofre Nodari, Claire Robinson and John Fagan. The following is the report summary reprinted as it appears in the report. The full report is available to read and download at: http://www.scribd. com/doc/57277946/RoundupandBirthDefec tsv5
Report summary Concerns about the health effects of bestselling herbicide Roundup® are running at an all-time high. Scientific research published in 2010 showed that Roundup and the chemical on which it is based, glyphosate, cause birth defects in frog and chicken embryos at dilutions much lower than those used in agricultural and garden spraying2. The EU Commission dismissed these findings, based on a rebuttal provided by the German Federal Office for
Consumer Protection and Food Safety, BVL3. BVL cited unpublished industry studies to back its claim that glyphosate was safe. The Commission has previously ignored or dismissed many other findings from the independent scientific literature showing that Roundup and glyphosate cause endocrine disruption, damage to DNA, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and cancer, as well as birth defects. Many of these effects are found at very low doses, comparable to levels of pesticide residues found in food and the environment. This issue is of particular concern now that Monsanto and other producers of genetically modified seed are trying to get their glyphosate-tolerant crops approved for cultivation in Europe. If the EU Commission gives its approval, this will lead to a massive increase in the amount of glyphosate sprayed in the fields of EU member states, as has already happened in North and South America. Consequently, people’s exposure to glyphosate will increase. All these concerns could be addressed by an objective review of Roundup and glyphosate in line with the more stringent new EU pesticide regulation due to come into force in June 2011. Just such a review was due to take place in 2012. However, shortly after the Commission was notified of the latest research (showing that glyphosate and Roundup cause birth defects), it quietly passed a directive delaying the review of glyphosate and 38 other dangerous pesticides until 20154. This delay is being challenged in a lawsuit brought against the Commission by Pesticides Action Network Europe and Greenpeace. Delaying the review of glyphosate until 2015 is serious enough. But in reality, the Commission’s slowness in preparing the new data requirements for the incoming
regulation means that glyphosate may well not be re-assessed in the light of up-to-date science until 2030. The beneficiary will be the pesticide industry; the victim will be public health. The need for a review of glyphosate is particularly urgent in the light of the shortcomings of the existing review of the pesticide, on which its current approval rests. In this report, we examine the industry studies and regulatory documents that led to this approval. We show that industry and regulators knew as long ago as the 1980s and 1990s that glyphosate causes malformations – but that this information was not made public. We demonstrate how EU regulators reasoned their way from clear evidence of glyphosate’s teratogenicity in industry’s own studies (the same studies that BVL claimed show the safety of glyphosate) to a conclusion that minimized these findings in the EU Commission’s final review report. The German government and its agencies played a central role in this process. As the ‘rapporteur’ member state for glyphosate, Germany was responsible for liaising between industry and the EU Commission and reporting the findings of industry studies. We show how Germany played down findings of serious harm in industry studies on glyphosate. It irresponsibly proposed a high ‘safe’ exposure level for the public that ignored important data on glyphosate’s teratogenic effects. This level was accepted by the Commission and is now in force. Taken together, the industry studies and regulatory documents on which the current approval of glyphosate rests reveal that: ● industry (including Monsanto) has known since the 1980s that glyphosate causes malformations in experimental animals at high doses ● industry has known since 1993 that these effects could also occur at lower and mid doses ● the German government has known since at least 1998 that glyphosate causes malformations ● the EU Commission’s expert scientific review panel knew in 1999 that glyphosate causes malformations ● the EU Commission has known since 2002 that glyphosate causes malformations. This was the year its DG SANCO division published its final review report, laying out the basis for the current approval of glyphosate. The public, in contrast, has been kept in the dark by industry and regulators about the ability of glyphosate and Roundup to cause malformations. In addition, the work of independent scientists who have drawn attention to the herbicide’s teratogenic effects has been ignored, denigrated, or dismissed. These actions on the part of industry and regulators have endangered public health. They have also contributed to the growing division between independent and industry science, which in turn erodes public trust in the regulatory process.
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Another backward step as UK aims to change training requirements In December 2010 DEFRA released its response to the public consultation on implementing new EU pesticide legislation, in particular how it intends to implement the new EU Directive on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides (SUD). The press release issued by DEFRA to accompany the consultation response stated that there would be ‘some change to the training and certification regime’. Nobody expected the proposed changes that have since come to light. Nick Mole reports. DEFRA has announced that in response to new requirements under the EU Directive on the SUD it intends to remove the requirement for sprayer operator certification as is the current UK situation. In the mind of PAN UK and many others this is a retrograde step that will negatively impact on the safe use of pesticides in the UK. The situation has resulted from the UK government’s decision to directly transpose all new EU Directives into law to avoid any ‘gold plating’ of new legislation. It appears that this is being blindly stuck to rather than taking each piece of legislation on its
particular merits and thus leading to a downgrading of the current UK provisions. The text of Article 5, Training and Certification requirements, states that by 2013 ‘All professional users, distributers and advisors must have access to initial and additional training’, rather than stating that all sprayer operators, distributors and advisers must be trained and certificated by law. It appears that by directly transposing the text of Article 5 DEFRA is wilfully missing the spirit of this particular part of the SUD and putting the UK in the position
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Signaling. October 19. http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/File:BVL201 0.comments.Paganelli.pdf 4. European Commission. 2010. Commission Directive 2010/77/EU of 10 November 2010 amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC as regards the expiry dates for inclusion in Annex I of certain active substances. OJ L 230, 19.8.1991.
This report provides a comprehensive review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature, documenting the serious health hazards posed by glyphosate and Roundup herbicide formulations. On the basis of this evidence, we call on the Commission to cancel its delay in reviewing glyphosate and to arrange an objective review of the pesticide. The review must take into account the full range of independent scientific literature, as demanded by the new pesticides regulation, and should be started as soon as the new data requirements are in place this year. In the meantime, the Commission should use its powers to withdraw glyphosate and Roundup from the market.
References 1. Antoniou M, Ezz El-Din Mostafa Habib M, Howard CV, Jennings RC, Leifert C, Nodari RO, Robinson C, Fagan J, Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?, Earth Open Source, June 2011. 2. Paganelli A, Gnazzo V, et al. 2010. Glyphosatebased herbicides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signaling. Chemical Research in Toxicology 23(10): 15861595. 3. BVL, Germany. Glyphosate – Comments from Germany on the paper by Paganelli, A. et al., 2010: Glyphosate-based Herbicides Produce Teratogenic Effects on Vertebrates by Impairing Retinoic Acid
Michael Antoniou is reader in Molecular Genetics and head of the Gene Expression and Therapy Group, Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, King’s College London School of Medicine, UK. Mohamed Ezz El-Din Mostafa Habib, Institute of Biology, UNICAMP, São Paulo, Brazil. C Vyvyan Howard, Nano Systems Research Group at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Richard C Jennings, Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, UK. Carlo Leifert, School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AFRD), Newcastle University, UK. Rubens Onofre Nodari, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil John Fagan, Earth Open Source Corresponding author: Claire Robinson, Earth Open Source, email@example.com
of going backwards from the current requirements. However, in another part of Article 5 it states that; ‘Evidence of training will be provided via certification systems that allow for the granting, renewal and withdrawal of certificates’. This indicates to PAN UK that if there must be provision for certificates to be withdrawn then there should be a statutory requirement for having them in the first place, otherwise the whole process is meaningless! On the one hand the government has been claiming that there is little need for the UK to adopt the majority of the measures in the SUD as the UK is already more advanced than most other EU Member States. And on the other they are taking what can only be seen as a retrograde step in regard to certification requirements. The proposed measures have met with outrage across the board from manufacturers, advisers, users, retailers and organisations like PAN UK. To read the letter from the crop protection sector see http://www.crop protection.org.uk/news/crop-protectionsector-urges-defra-to-keep-robust-uk-pes ticide-controls.aspx PAN UK believes that there must be a mandatory requirement that anybody wishing to apply pesticides in a professional setting, agricultural or amenity, must undergo relevant training and certification and they must also be involved in continuing professional development (CPD). The CPD element must be a requirement in order for their certification to remain valid and to ensure that any changes in circumstances are known about so that applicators are fully aware of the potential risks to human health and the environment and of the appropriate measures to reduce those risks as much as possible. Further to that PAN UK believes that anybody selling pesticides, including those for home and garden use, must be trained, particularly in the area of alternative non chemical approaches to pest and weed control. You can read the PAN UK response to Article 5 and the other provisions of the SUD here: http://www.pan-uk.org /PDFs/PAN%20UK%20Consultation%20 Response_%20April%202010.pdf This has put PAN UK in the unusual position of being in agreement with the Crop Protection Association and other parts of the pesticide industry in the UK in condemning this move from DEFRA and calling for its reversal. Letters have been sent to the DEFRA Minister, Lord Henley, by PAN UK and numerous other organisations and trade bodies calling for DEFRA to reverse this absurd decision. Sadly, to date it seems that the new government’s ideological dislike of regulation will be setting the UK back in terms of delivering a pesticide regulatory regime that can ensure the best protection of people and the environment from the potential dangers of pesticide use.
Nick Mole is UK and Europe Coordinator at PAN UK; firstname.lastname@example.org
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Pesticides News 92
Something nasty lurking upstream of Cambridge Remediation of an old pesticide manufacturing site near Cambridge is posing risks for communities. The site is a reminder that development of safer crop protection remedies – especially those integrated with natural and biological controls – are important to protect not only farmland but also sites where the products are manufactured and stored. Jean Perraton, Dr Charles Turner and John Terry report on behalf of the Cam Valley Forum. Byron’s Pool is no longer the peaceful spot where the notorious lord used to swim and where Rupert Brooke frolicked naked with Virginia Woolf. The noise of the M11 put paid to that. But the water there is still reasonably clear and clean – perhaps cleaner than in Rupert Brooke’s day – and the river below is still enjoyed by swimmers as it flows past Grantchester Meadows and Paradise Nature Reserve on its way to Cambridge. A mile upstream from Byron’s Pool lurks a much more serious threat to the river environment than any motorway. At Hauxton, between the handsome old mill (Grade 2 listed) and the village church, is a large factory site covering 14.9 hectares, where successive companies including Fisons Pest Control and AgrEvo manufactured agrochemicals and stored their wastes for many decades. The last of these, Bayer CropScience UK, sold the site to property developers in 2005. According to an environmental statement the site was contaminated by chemicals in concentrations that may be dangerous to human health and the environment, including very soluble herbicides such as dicamba and 2,3,6-TBA, and DDT, dieldrin, hempa, and schradan – an insecticide akin to nerve gas – as well as simazine and atrazine1. The use of schradan as an insecticide in the UK has always been restricted because of its high mammalian toxicity (LD 50 for rats = 9.1 mg/kg; most insecticides used today have LD 50 for rats in the higher hundreds if not more). None of these compounds is currently on the market because they have been banned for use or replaced by safer chemicals. Over the years pollutants have leaked through a bentonite wall built to retain these wastes on the site, into the adjacent brook and thence into the river Cam. According to Roger Braithwaite and other consultants, contaminants are seeping under the wall and through small areas of failure into the Riddy Brook. Water analyses on either side of the wall have long shown that it is failing2. Pollutants have also seeped into the
groundwater on adjacent agricultural land rendering one of the fields, in the view of the farmer, Peter Elliot, uncultivable.
Development plans In 2006 the new owners, Harrow Estates, submitted two planning applications to South Cambridgeshire District Council: one to demolish the buildings and remediate the site, and the other to develop 8.7 ha of the land with housing and commercial buildings. In cleaning up this site the developers are faced with a complex, costly and urgent problem. An earlier report prepared by Bayer CropScience found that the bentonite wall was coming towards the end of its useful life3. A later report from Harrow Estates confirmed this and added that ‘an area of the former production building which is heavily impacted on the soil and ground water could be a source of contamination for many decades’4. Despite the complexity of the problem and the possible serious consequences for the aquatic environment and for the health of future residents, the developers were not required to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The local authority, and the Environment Agency who oversee the processes of remediation and subsequent planning permission, seemed satisfied that contamination concerns were addressed without it. The range of remediation treatments recommended by the developer’s consultants apparently seemed feasible. The need for an EIA is generally regulated by virtue of factors such as size, nature and location. This 14.9ha site, with its heavy contamination and location beside two water courses, oddly failed to qualify the site for the need of an EIA. The Cam Valley Forum (CVF), a small pressure group concerned with the environment of the River Cam and its tributaries, expressed strong reservations about the methodology, efficacy and extent of the remediation strategy, which was part of the application documents, but permission was
granted by the council. This decision was quashed at judicial review, mainly because local environmental concerns were not well addressed. Undeterred, the developers submitted revised applications, which only included an Environmental Statement rather than a full Environmental Impact Assessment as would normally be required in an application with such serious environmental implications. The applications also included plans from a range of specialist consultants and the remediation methodology. Despite concerns voiced by several councillors – particularly about the potential health risks to future residents – the plans were narrowly approved. The dominant view in the district council, understandably, was that profitable development offered the only realistic means of getting this site cleaned up. The approval occurred in spite of PPS23, the Government Guidelines on planning and pollution control whose main theme is to ensure proper assessment of environmental impacts of remediation works before a decision is made to grant planning permission.
Remediation – more harm than good? The ‘clean-up’ has been in full swing since spring 2010 using ‘ex-situ bioremediation’ processes, whereby the soils are excavated and treated on the site by physical and biological processes. People living and working in Hauxton have been complaining of noxious smells, of burning eyes, noses and throats, and of feeling sick when the wind blows the volatile organic compounds their way. A local campaigning group called ‘Hauxair’ (www.hauxair.co.uk) has been set up and members are recording the number of health problems experienced during this remediation process. Jackie Garfitt, a Hauxton resident who became ill, was told by doctors that her health had been affected by the chemicals. She reported this on BBC News (26 May 2010) and explained that dozens of others had made similar claims. Part of the asparagus crop in an adjoining field was ruined and many trees around the site were showing signs of chemical uptake. Forestry Commission advisers, who saw the affected leaves, suggested that the symptoms matched the effects of hormone weed killers. The contractors have tried spraying perfume around the perimeter of the site, to mask the smells, but this doesn’t seem to help. Results of air quality monitoring on the remediation site are posted on a dedicated website. The Health Protection Agency, which has been assessing the results of air quality monitoring, has so far insisted that there is no immediate hazard to human health. These results are shown as averages of a month and do not reveal the much higher concentrations which, though short lived with the changing winds, may be responsible for the reported health problems. It is worrying that the published concentrations are generally below the level detectable by the average human nose, whereas the odours from the site can some-
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NGOs demand implementation of new EU pesticide legislation The UK government concludes from its consultation on the new EU pesticide directive that only very minor changes are needed to existing regulations in the UK. Five leading conservation organisations disagree. Nick Mole from PAN UK explains.
Throughout the UK public consultation on implementing the new EU pesticide legislation (the Sustainable Use Directive), a loose coalition of NGOs advocated for greater protection to biodiversity and the environment from the harmful effects of pesticides. The organisations involved are PAN UK, Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, CHEM Trust and RSPB. This article is based on a briefing document setting out our key ‘asks’ of the DEFRA Minister Lord Henley. The four areas that we are most concerned with are: protection of water, phasing out of certain
pesticides, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and awareness raising. As a group of environmental NGOs working together to ensure that crop protection products have minimal impacts on biodiversity in the UK, our demands relate to the adequate protection of biodiversity, rather than measures solely required for human health protection, such as advance warning of spraying. The EU Sustainable Use Directive promotes best practice for the storage, use and disposal of pesticides. The UK government consulted on its implementation just over a year ago and the government’s response to this consultation was recently published1.
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with the Environment Agency. South Cambridgeshire District Council have recently approved a relaxation of the remediation targets, which means more residues could be left on site than allowed in the earlier planning permission. Their response increased the concerns of the CVF which, with others, continued to voice its lack of confidence in the remediation plan. It was certainly never anticipated that the process would cause such distress to the people living nearby. The Cam Valley Forum is very worried about the remediation techniques being employed, arguing that the windrowing of the contaminated soil is insufficient for such a complex cocktail of chemicals and their derivatives. Each of these compounds needs a different approach to encourage breakdown. Some are soluble in water, many only in organic solvents, some are volatile, others very persistent. The CVF argues that it is time to call a halt to work, cover up the site, and bring in additional specialists, who know more about the breakdown of historic pesticides, to reassess how best to proceed with the remediation. It is also vital to consider when, if ever, it makes sense to build houses there. Building houses on land where pesticides were manufactured and stored for over 60 years have been disastrous. The ‘Love Canal Tragedy’ near Niagara, USA is only one example7. Most local people want the Hauxton site to be remediated; but safety to the people working on the site and
times spread to neighbouring villages over two miles away. The contractors are also monitoring the effluent from the site in to the river Cam. The Environment Agency has a duty to oversee the successful remediation of this site – designated a ‘special site’ because of its size and pollution. It is leaving the detailed monitoring to the remediation company, but is also carrying out its own checks on the water in the river, just downstream of the treatment works, and in the Riddy Brook that flows alongside the site to join the Cam. Their results show that chemicals from the site (including schradan), albeit in very small quantities, are leaking into the river5. Roger Braithwaite, a specialist in dealing with contaminated land who knows the site well, has described it as ‘the most polluted site in the country’. He has a great deal of experience and knowledge with site remediation within the UK. The developers have expressed their own concerns about the effectiveness of the process. Their Environmental Statement admitted that ‘We are clear in our understanding that some treatments for some soils may not be wholly successful due to either the suitability of soils or nature of the contamination’6. Furthermore, since work has been in progress, they have been unable to comply fully with some of the conditions imposed by the planning authority in consultation
This response was very weak suggesting no, or very small changes to existing pesticide mitigation measures in the UK despite the number of opportunities provided by the Directive to further reduce pesticide impacts. The government is required to implement the Directive by 25th November 2011. We believe that the government is failing to deliver adequately on protection of biodiversity from pesticides impacts and so highlight here a number of Asks to strengthen implementation of the Directive to benefit biodiversity.
Water protection (relates to Article 11) Our water habitats are fragile and a number of EU Directives are in place to offer them protection including the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and EU Habitat Directive. Existing voluntary actions are demonstrably failing to deliver compliance with these EU regulations. This is exemplified by voluntary initiatives such as catchment sensitive farming, which have shown that many stakeholders in target areas are just not aware of the necessary voluntary measures, despite the considerable efforts made to appraise them. Catchments containing aquatic Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) remain vulnerable to pollution as compulsory powers to stop or control damaging activities are potential residents, and protection of the river and its catchment must not be compromised. References 1) GV Grimley (2008) Former Bayer CropScience Ltd. Site, Hauxton, Cambridgeshire Environmental Statement - Remediation Main Report, Available from South Cambridgeshire District Council website http://plan.scambs.gov.uk:8080/swiftlg/MediaTemp/ 1011389-301792.pdf. Also the list of ‘Contaminants of concern’ Page 15 of Vertase’s Remediation statement. 2) Enviros Consulting Ltd (2005) A Site Investigation Report for Bayer CropScience, January 2005. Also data from boreholes held by the adjoining landowner, Peter Elliot. 3) Enviros Consulting Ltd Op. Cit. 4) Stephen Robinson (2006) Core Strategy to the Independent Examination, Harrow Estates 5) Letter to the Cam Valley Forum from the Environment Agency 18 June 2010 with attached data sheets 6) Letter from GVA Grimley to Mr. D. Rush, Development Control Officer, South Cambridgeshire District Council, 24 June 2009. 7) Eckardt C Beck (1979) The Love Canal Tragedy EPA Journal January 1979, available on http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/history/topics/lovecan al/01.html
Jean Perraton and John Terry are, respectively, chair and secretary of the Cam Valley Forum, and Charles Turner, a member of its committee, is a retired university lecturer in ecology and earth sciences who has kept a close watch on the Hauxton site for many years. Corresponding author: John Terry, email@example.com
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European regulation limited to their boundaries which often do not include the surrounding catchment and so they are vulnerable to pollution from upstream or beyond their boundaries. For example, protected species such as whiteclawed crayfish are vulnerable to pesticide pollution but the SACs designated to protect them do not include areas of the catchment where pesticides are used. Pesticide pollution is also a significant cost-driver for the water industry with some compounds such as metaldehyde being effectively untreatable. The WFD requires drinking water sources to be defined as Protected Areas and sets rigorous conditions to ensure that raw water quality does not deteriorate to the point where it requires additional treatment. We believe voluntary safeguard zones should be implemented in pesticide vulnerable catchments, defined by WFD/EU Habitat Directive requirements, or in catchments where a specific problem has been identified as causing or threatening a decline in drinking water quality and/or biodiversity. These voluntary safeguard zones should be well supported with advice, training and assessments, and they should preferably cover entire catchments to be effective. The effectiveness of such an approach must be carefully monitored for effectiveness and the possibility of regulation must be considered if voluntary approaches do not achieve the results necessary in the timeframe. In addition, to protect the aquatic environment there should be a ban on blanket spraying on hard surfaces, as this leads to a high level of run off and regular contamination of water habitats. Key Asks: targeted voluntary safeguard zones in pesticide vulnerable areas for WFD, EU Habitats directive catchments and other biodiverse areas, backed by the possibility of regulation should a voluntary approach prove unsuccessful. ● voluntary safeguard zones should be well supported by advice, training and assessments. ● a ban on blanket spraying on hard surfaces. ●
Phased reduction of most toxic substances (relates to Article 4) Reduction targets are an effective way of reducing impacts of the most harmful pesticides that won’t make it through the next stage of chemical reviews, and/or where there is evidence of concern about their biodiversity impacts. This will allow a gradual phase out and help to instigate substitution to less harmful control methods/chemicals, or a temporary suspension allowing for investigations and/or research. These targets should be defined by chemical type, usage and impacts; for example a product that is a high risk to pollinators (nectar/pollen feeding insects) should have higher reduction or temporary suspension on flowering crops.
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These may be chemicals with suggested impacts that were not apparent during the approvals process, but where evidence of impacts have become apparent post the original approval. For example, in the case of neonicotinoid pesticides, a review of the original approval process has shown that the original tests were significantly flawed and increasing scientific evidence suggests the potential for environmental impacts on honey bees and other non-target invertebrates. Key asks: a process to allow the identification or flagging of most harmful pesticides to biodiversity. ● phase out/suspension plans for pesticides. ● a focus on developing alternatives to those pesticides that will be phased out by the new EU Regulation and those deemed toxic to bees and other pollinators. ●
Awareness raising (relates to Article 7) Access to information is essential to allow the public to make more informed decisions about the pesticides they use. People need to know about the risks to their health and the risks to wildlife and the environment. The information provided should cover: the potential hazards to people and wildlife; the alternatives to using pesticides; how products should be stored, handled and applied; and how to dispose of them safely. Information about the application of products should cover the means of application, including rates and favourable conditions for application. To ensure that people receive and absorb this information it should be provided in a number of different forms including a comprehensive website. In addition to the website, the public should be targeted at the point of sale through: ● leaflets which are offered prior to the sales transaction ● posters near the products ● labelling on the product In its response, the Government states that it will ‘encourage distributors of non-professional products to provide relevant information at the point of sale.’ We feel that this approach is insufficient and therefore call on the government to make this provision of information mandatory, to ensure the public are able to make the best decisions in tackling pest problems. By helping people in their decision making we can reduce the harm caused to people, wildlife and the environment.
Integrated pest management (IPM) (relates to Article 14) Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a system of pest, disease and weed control that only uses pesticides as a last resort when other measures have failed. Proper uptake of IPM and its general philosophy could lead to
a substantial reduction in pesticide use in all sectors. Article 14 of the SUD requires that Member States take all necessary measures to promote low pesticide-input pest management, giving, wherever possible, priority to non-chemical methods. Furthermore, Member States should ensure that the general principles of IPM as set out in Annex III of the Directive are implemented by all professional users by 1 January 2014. However, there is no clear consensus on what actually constitutes IPM: definitions range from simply following the instructions on the label of a pesticide container to using pesticides only as an absolute last resort. The principles in Annex III are a good starting point but we believe that to achieve significant reductions in pesticide use a more progressive definition needs to be adopted. Confusion over definitions is not helped by the government insisting in its response to the public consultation that; ‘most farmers and growers already have a good overall awareness of IPM.’ This is not the same thing as actually implementing a strict IPM regime. In fact we believe the government is being very complacent in its assessment that UK arable and horticulture growers already practice IPM to a standard that would satisfy the requirements of SUD. IPM is a continuum of improving practice and decreasing reliance on pesticides, by using more non-chemical methods and developing cropping systems that better prevent pest, disease and weed incidence and encourage natural control processes. The government response contradicts findings from the RELU research programme, funded by public money and DEFRA that most British arable farmers use only a limited number of IPM techniques and are not benefiting from a fully integrated approach. We are calling on the government to: develop a clear definition of IPM that puts the emphasis on non-chemical methods and goes beyond the principles set out in Annex III ● development of crop and sector specific IPM protocols ● the development of extension and outreach services to assist farmers in implementing IPM ● the addition of a new IPM implementation group as a sub-group of the Pesticides Forum ● mandatory training in IPM for all sectors. ● funding for research into IPM ●
If you support these aims please sign the petition at: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/protectwildlife-from-pesticide-impacts.html References 1. http://www.pesticides.gov.uk/approvals.asp?id =2824
Nick Mole is UK and Europe Coordinator at PAN UK; firstname.lastname@example.org
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A big step forward for pesticide dealers in Mali In an effort to prevent stockpiles of obsolete pesticides building up again following the removal of historic stocks, the Africa Stockpiles Programme in Mali is targeting the distribution chain. Dr Mamadou Camara and Dr Cheikh Hamallah Sylla of the PASP-Mali project Like other countries in the Sahel region, Mali’s approach to achieving food security includes a series of measures providing farmers with agricultural inputs such as pesticides, in order to protect crops and harvests. In parallel to this policy for sustained agricultural output, the authorities must also promote sound ecological management, recognising that all pesticides – whether obsolete or registered for use – are toxic and pose risks to the environment, animal and human health. The correct application of pesticide regulations is the first tool for the protection of human health and the environment. National pesticide regulations state that only registered pesticides or those that have received provisional approval of sale may be imported, distributed and sold in the open market. The regulations regarding the sale of pesticides require the vendor to be educated, in possession of a suitable facility for sale as well as specialisation in the resale of pesticides. The reality is that for the majority of vendors, the sale of pesticides is an activity like any other and can be carried out by anyone who sees themselves fit to do so. The sale of pesticides in Mali is not an activity reserved only to licensed specialists in the sector. It is not uncommon to see hawkers offering farmers hazardous and unauthorised products in markets or along the side of the road. In Mali, the resale of pesticides has always been carried out by individuals in the informal sector, most of whom are illiterate. They are unaware of the hazards and risks of the pesticides they sell
and ignorant of the regulations in place. In the light of these realities, it is imperative that distribution and sales – an essential phase in the life-cycle of pesticides – is brought up to professional standards. As well as providing the last link in that phase, traders also perform an important role in influencing the use phase of the life cycle of pesticides. It is they who respond to the needs of their customers and supply them directly with pesticides. If the traders are ignorant of the proper and safe way to use them, dosage or health and safety precautions, pesticide-users do not have appropriate advice and support, and as a result are exposed to all sorts of harmful effects from the use of pesticides. The uninformed use of pesticide by farmers is a major source of environmental contamination and pollution. It is for this reason that the professionalisation of the sector is an imperative in the sound management of the pesticide life cycle.
Sound management of pesticides The African Stockpiles Programme (PASPMali) is composed of a disposal and a prevention component. The prevention component has made the reorganisation of the pesticide distribution/sales sector one of its priorities. Through the implementation of its National Plan for Prevention of obsolete pesticide stocks, PASP-Mali has an agenda to identify and train pesticide traders in all regions of the country in order to obtain, on one hand, an agreement of sales and on the
An exercise to train pesticide dealers how to handle spills
other, the reorganisation of the pesticide distribution/sales networks in Mali. It is with this objective that a census of resellers in the Bamako area was conducted in January 2010, in collaboration with the association of retailers of agricultural inputs in Bamako (ARIAB). Dealers were found in all six communes of Bamako but the majority were in the neighbourhood by the river, trading on a street known as the ‘Corridor of Death’ because of the strong odour of pesticides that waft out from the kiosks. In April 2010, 80 pesticide traders were successfully trained by PASP-Mali in collaboration with the National Directorate for Agriculture (DNA) and CropLife Mali who prepared specific modules and translated the teaching materials into local languages. The training which took place over two sessions covered international and national legislation that applies to: the handling of pesticides; managing sales facilities and pesticide stocks; and advisory support to pesticide users. Specifically, the following aspects were addressed: ● the regulation of pesticides and hazardous waste, classified facilities and shops selling pesticides, distribution/sales and control of pesticides ● the nature and characteristics of pesticides ● the risks and dangers pesticides may pose to health and the environment ● standards and procedures for store and stock management ● dealing with pesticide related accidents ● support to consumers, particularly how to target pests and the technical uses of various products As well as teaching the theory, the modules included practical, small group exercises which allowed the traders to master the following tasks: ● how to read labels and packaging using a reference list of various formulations ● how to identify a product and determine the level of toxicity ● identifying the inherent risks in repackaging pesticides ● how to recognise symptoms of toxic poisoning ● how to manage spills of liquid and solid pesticides ● First Aid in case of any accidents at the point of sale ● measures to minimise risk ● how to choose a product relative to the treatment period ● techniques for the appropriate use of pesticides and equipment ● good practice in stocking and preserving products The training began with a pre-test that demonstrated that less than 25% of participants gave correct answers to most questions asked. To obtain an attendance certificate at the end of the course participants needed to score at least 50% in the post-test. Only five dealers (6%) failed to obtain this score. These five people were gathered in the premises of PASP-Mali, in September 2010 for a remedial session, after which they all surpassed the requirements for the certificate
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Poisonings in Burkina Faso support paraquat’s inclusion in watch list Paraquat has been on the radar of public health organisations since 1985, and has finally been flagged for action at the global level, through the recent recommendation of the Rotterdam Convention Chemical Review Committee to add it to the Convention. Evidence submitted by Burkina Faso confirms that formulations containing 20% of the active ingredient have caused severe harm to farmers’ health. The recommendation is based on an underutilised mechanism of the Convention that allows developing countries and countries with economies in transition to notify severely hazardous pesticide formulations. Barbara Dinham explains. Paraquat poisoning is widespread. As a pesticide without antidote, its ingestion – either accidentally or for deliberate selfharm – inevitably leads to death. Less wellrecognised is the day-to-day harm inflicted on small-scale farmers and agricultural workers who regularly use this weed killer and cannot adequately protect themselves. Exposure to paraquat through contact with the skin, eyes, inhalation or the mouth can lead to systemic poisoning. The unpleasant and debilitating health effects range from
severe headaches, dizziness, excessive sweating, itching, burning skin and rashes, to eye pains and even loss of consciousness. Paraquat was included on a ‘dirty dozen’ list of pesticides as long ago as 19851. The European Union banned paraquat in 2007. Now, a recommendation from the group of expert scientists who form the Chemical Review Committee (CRC) of the international Rotterdam Convention could send further warnings,
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the advice of the experts of PASP Mali who suggested to collect all the waste in a container to be managed by an international firm for disposal) ● to comply with the regulations, retailers have banned from their shelves the sale of highly toxic and unauthorised pesticides including endosulfan, insecticides of the cotton Malian Company for Textile Development (CMDT) and products containing atrazine. They also refused to acquire new products that are not registered ● the dealers were subjected to voluntary individual medical examinations to assess their health ● recognising the importance of the resale of pesticides for the economy, health and environment of the country and prompted by the desire to professionalise their industry, trained dealers have created a National Union of Dealers of Agricultural Inputs of Mali (Mali-UNRIA) which currently includes retailers from the District of Bamako and Koulikoro and Segou regions.
by scoring at least 80%. A ceremony was held to award certificates to retailers and diplomas of recognition to trainers on 1 October 2010 at the International Conference Centre in Bamako. The presidency was assured by Mr Seydou Diakite, Permanent Secretary / National Coordinator of Inter-State Committee for the Fight against Drought in Sahel representing the Minister of Agriculture. The cochairs were the National Director of Agriculture and the National Director of Environmental Sanitation and Pollution and Nuisance Control. The event was broadcast on National Radio and Television and the radio stations in Bamako. The training has already proved beneficial to dealers for several reasons. ● a local committee was set up in the ‘corridor of death’ to monitor the implementation of recommendations and protective measures that were suggested during the training sessions ● regarding the management of retail shops, retailers have established pesticide kiosks, acquired and started using PPE, begun sweeping and cleaning contaminated spots, introduced bins for contaminated waste and started burning empty but contaminated pesticide cartons (the latter practice is against
Dr Mamadou Camara is Head of the Prevention of accumulation of stocks component of PASP-Mali: mamadou.camara@ASP-mali.org; Dr. Cheikh Sylla Hamallah is Head of the Disposal Component of PASP-Mali: cheikh.sylla@ASP-mali.org
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particularly to developing countries. Meeting in Rome from 28 March-1 April 2011, the CRC has agreed that evidence submitted by Burkina Faso confirms that formulations containing 20% of the active ingredient has caused severe harm to farmers’ health. The Rotterdam Convention was developed to provide an early warning on banned and severely restricted pesticides and to help prevent unwanted imports. Additionally, the Convention allows developing countries (and countries ‘with economies in transition’) to submit evidence of severely hazardous pesticide formulations that cause problems under their more risky use conditions. Peter Kenmore, the FAO Co-Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention noted this new development means that: ‘For the first time since the Convention entered into force in 20042, the Committee has recommended adding a severely hazardous pesticide formulation to the 'watch list', advancing our Parties' efforts to ensure that countries' rights to know and trade chemicals safely are respected.’3 It is not easy for countries with limited regulatory systems to document poisoning incidents and Burkina Faso’s efforts could alert other countries facing similar problems. The country conducted a survey of farmers involving 53 males between 29 and 65 years old who had applied the product in the field, and documented incidents that occurred from 1996 to 2010 in three of its provinces (Boucle du Mouhoun, Cascades and Hauts Bassins)4.
Use and problems in Burkina Faso The formulation of paraquat Gramoxone Super (200 g/L EC) has been used in Burkina Faso as a total herbicide in cotton, rice and maize. It is generally applied at the beginning of the season with a dosage of 23 litres/hectare. Guidance for use of paraquat includes such instructions as ‘Wear coveralls over a long-sleeved shirt and long pants during application with a backpack sprayer’ and ‘Do not use damaged sprayers’. The product label contains precautionary advice not to smoke, eat or drink during use of the product, to wear glasses, boots and synthetic rubber gloves, to avoid entering a treated plot within 24 hours after application of the product and to avoid any contact with spray mixture. In contrast, the local conditions and health impacts were described in the Committee report: ‘The product was applied using backpack sprayers. In many cases, little or no personal protective equipment (PPE) was worn as a result of various factors, such as a lack of financial means to acquire it, the inappropriateness of PPE for local climatic conditions and an underestimation of the dangers of pesticides.’5 The Burkina Faso survey indicated that adverse effects appeared immediately to
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International conventions several hours after the application. Symptoms included headaches, excessive sweating, itching, tingling, burning of the skin, skin rashes and sores, complete destruction of contaminated areas, fever, dizziness, bone pain, loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties, cough, vision troubles, eye pains, ringing in the ears, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and lockjaw. In 15 cases, the treatment was unknown, whereas treatment was administered in 26 cases, and in 11 cases hospitalisation was required.6 The product is sprayed on average for 3½ hours per hectare; as most farms are two hectares, farmers spray for seven hours over one or two days. The report pointed out that most pesticide distributors do not sell any protective equipment, and vendors lacked knowledge and training to provide proper advice to customers. Lack of knowledge, affordability and uncomfortable weather conditions made wearing of PPE even less likely: only 29% of farmers wore boots, and only 1% used gloves, boots, suits, dust masks and glasses at the same time. Most farmers could not read label instructions.
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POPs webinars The Stockholm Secretariat is offering free online ‘webinars’ on particular aspects of the Convention, including how the phaseouts of the newly listed chemicals can be achieved in practice. The webinars are aimed at official contact points from signatory countries, other government and nongovernment representatives concerned with the Convention in their country, and experts and the public who want to find out more about the Convention. The webinars are taught using teleconferencing facilities, with sessions lasting one hour. Webinars are planned for June and July on Updating national inventories on unintentional POPs and Promoting synergies among the Basel, Rotterdam and
Stockholm conventions. More will be scheduled on issues including: Legal issues; POPs in articles; PCBs Elimination Network (PEN); Preparing for the seventh meeting of the POPRC; Complying with the reporting requirements of the Stockholm Convention; Clearing House Mechanism; Getting familiar with the process for reviewing and updating National Implementation Plans (NIPs); Integrated Vector Management (IVM) and the deployment of alternatives to DDT. To register and find out more visit http://chm.pops.int/Convention/Meetings/ We b i n a r s / t a b i d / 1 5 2 9 / l a n g u a g e / e n US/Default.aspx
ately by the pesticide industry’.
www.pic.int/Procedures/SeverelyHazardousPesticid eFormulations/Database/tabid/1369/language/enUS/Default.aspx 3. FAO, Pesticides and industrial chemicals recommended for trade 'watch list’, press release 1 April 2011. 4. UNEP/FAO Report of the CRC on the work of its seventh meeting, UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.7/15, 2011 http://www.pic.int/TheConvention/ChemicalReview Committee/Reports/tabid/1058/language/enUS/Default.aspx 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid. 7. UNEP/FAO, Gramoxone Super - Additional information collected by the Secretariat from parties, UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.7/11/Add.2–6, 2011. 8. Ibid, Addenda 2 and 3. 9. Berne Declaration and PAN International press release 1 April 2011.
In some instances agricultural workers may apply paraquat for longer hours than small scale farmers, wearing little or no PPE. The Convention secretariat collected further information for the CRC, adding perspectives from other countries7. In Costa Rica’s banana plantations paraquat was reported as a frequent cause of occupational accidents, attributable to leaking backpack sprayers among other causes. In Chile, 43 acute occupational poisoning incidents with paraquat formulations from 2004 to 2009 were reported. In El Salvador between 289 and 402 paraquat poisonings were reported each year from 2005–20108. The secretariat reported that sprayer equipment is often defective, for example: more than half of the sprayers in use in Cameroon are damaged; the figure in Costa Rica is 58%; 80% of sprayers in Brazil have deficiencies; and China reported on frequently leaking sprayers. A survey in Cameroon revealed that 85% of the farmers there do not use PPE, and in particular 80% of operators wear no boots. The main manufacturer of paraquat is the Swiss company Syngenta, which made known to the meeting their opposition to listing. Public interest groups expressed their support for the listing9. François Meienberg of the Berne Declaration remarked that such lobbying ‘is irresponsible as it tries to deprive developing countries of their right to know more about the dangers of paraquat and to take an informed decision about import restrictions for this severely hazardous pesticide’. Sarojeni Rengam of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Asia Pacific observed that ‘The sale of paraquat products under such conditions are in breach of the FAO Code of Conduct and should be stopped immedi-
Recommendation The CRC rejected industry concerns, and adopted a recommendation to list paraquat dichloride (formulated as emulsifiable concentrate of 276 g active ingredient/L or above, corresponding to paraquat ion at or above 200 g/L) in Annex III to the Convention as a severely hazardous pesticide formulation. The recommendation will be discussed at the next CRC meeting and then be forwarded to the Conference of Parties for a final decision in 2013. References 1. The ‘dirty dozen’ expanded to a list of 18 pesticides; see PAN UK, List of Lists, 2010. http://www.pan-uk.org/List%20of%20Lists.html 2. Dustable powder formulations containing certain percentages of benomyl, carbofuran and thiram were notified by Senegal in 2001 and included as a severely hazardous pesticide formulation before the Convention entered into force.
Barbara Dinham is a freelance consultant working on pesticide management in developing countries, email@example.com
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Book reviews Phasing out pesticides to stop poisonings This publication explains why a growing number of individuals and organisations no longer believe that training can achieve a so-called ‘safe use’ of hazardous pesticides. Instead, many bodies call for a progressive ban of hazardous pesticides and support a systematic phase-in of agro-ecological approaches to food and fibre production and to the management of plant pests and diseases in agriculture. Stop Pesticide Poisonings takes the reader on a journey through the years since pesticide poisonings in developing countries first came to international attention. It highlights the global efforts to solve pesticide-related problems, and looks behind the statements and statistics of dangerous pesticide use and poisonings in Africa, Asia and Latin America by highlighting one example, the current situation in Latin America. The key message of Stop Pesticide Poisonings is that ‘safe use of highly hazardous pesticides’ is not possible, especially in developing countries. It suggests the urgent need for a progressive ban on highly hazardous pesticides, while phasing in sustainable, ecosystem-based crop production techniques - an example is provided in Chapter 3. Actions need the support not only of governments, but also of the whole fabric of society: particularly producers, traders and consumers of agricultural goods. Chapter 4 highlights actions that governments, the pesticide industry and food and fibre producers, processors and distributors should undertake to contribute to the development of a less toxic agricultural system. Consumers can have a strong influence by calling on those actors to increase safety within the food and fibre chain. A particular focus should be on those who suffer most: small scale farmers and agricultural workers who live in extremely unsafe and poor conditions. The document can be downloaded from http://www.pan-germany.org/download /Stop_Poisonings_110117_Final.pdf
A guide to gardening for beneficial insects A very practical and visual guide for a keen gardener set in the backdrop of the current crisis of the dwindling numbers of bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. It covers a wide range of topics from compatible plants to innovative ways to use resources and space to maximise support for many beneficial insects. It provides excellent practical tools such as diagrams to aid the recognition of the different types of butterflies, seasonal planting charts with descriptions of which insects to expect and guidance on how to make a wildlife pond.
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Interesting facts interspersed throughout the book – for example that there are 254 species of bees in Britain, that the honey bee is not native to the region and that only one or two of the different species of bees sting – make it a thought provoking read for people of varied interests. Whilst the focus of the book is tilted towards gardening for butterflies it encompasses a vast range of other beneficial insects from beetles, hoverflies and ladybirds to the many lesser known varieties of bees. Charts of the flowers to grow according to flowering patterns provide an extremely valuable resource to help gardeners ensure year-round sustenance for these valuable insects. These are accompanied by plans for developing insectaries for natural control of pests making this book a vital resource for one on a journey towards a more ecological garden. The book emphasises the value of wild flower corridors to provide safe passage to many insects. Its descriptions of the many complementary plants for various beneficial insects include important details like the appropriate time and place for sowing the seeds. The corresponding photographs are compelling enough to inspire a trip to the local garden centre. The book also brings forth interesting ideas including the use of builder’s rubble in the garden to attract butterflies with plans on ‘how-to’. A little tip from the author for guerrilla gardeners on planting on brownfields is that sometimes one could do more damage than good by disturbing the natural habitat of the site. The mineral rich deposits on many seemingly derelict areas can harbour thousands of species. The book ends with three case studies of inspiring and beautiful butterfly friendly gardens (one designed to look like a butterfly) including designs, lists of plants used and the complementary insects. When reading this book do not forget about the appendix as it’s a treasure trove of resources with recommendations for further reading, organisations working on relevant issues and preferred seed retailers. The author’s vast knowledge and passion for the subject are only enhanced by the vivid pictures dotted throughout the book. It is a detailed ‘how-to’ guide not limited to the needs of the novice gardener for with the many innovations it offers it could also be used as a reference for the experienced gardener transiting to organic methods of pest control. Green roofs, their benefits and ways to create them were this reader’s favourite section. Gardening for Butterflies, Bees and other beneficial insects. A how-to guide. Jan Miller-Klein, Saith Ffynnon Books, Flintshire, 2010. 261pp, £19.50.
An ode to bees Honey – Nature’s Golden Healer is an evocation of a connoisseur’s relationship with her muse – bees. It takes the reader through different aspects of her relationship with
bees from beekeeping to their various gifts – honey, propolis, beeswax and pollination amongst others. Half the story is narrated through striking images; not to be spellbound by the beauty of the subject is a challenge. The book is introduced in the current context of the decline in bee populations. The first section focuses on the beehive. It includes many thoughtful insights for beekeepers but is not a ‘how-to guide on beekeeping’. From the ingenious design and architectural skills of the bees in designing their hive, to the social norms within a colony, the book gives a fascinating overview. It also gives a good introduction to the lifecycle of a hive for the uninitiated. There are practical tips for bee-friendly gardening including planting flowers they favour, such as clover and comfrey, and placing a water bowl containing pebbles in the garden. The main section of the book, as the title suggests, tells the story of honey. Evidence of humans collecting honey in prehistoric paintings in Valencia, Spain, and depictions of bees in the hieroglyphs of Egyptian rulers are interesting anecdotes that go towards building the known history of bees. The section detailing the traditional therapeutic uses of honey is undoubtedly the forte of the book. From rheumatism to a sore throat the abundance of honey’s claimed healing potential and the many ways one can use it are fascinating. Many natural beauty remedies are listed along with culinary uses from salad dressings to biscuits. The last few chapters explore the less well-known bee products – propolis, pollen, royal jelly and beeswax. Propolis has been thought to relieve eczema, joint aches and aid clarity in hearing. The relief pollen is said to bring from hay fever is another gift from bees. Beeswax was crucial for the early Egyptians and Romans, and many others since, as an ingredient of candles, a most basic source of light. Its cosmetic benefits and roles in traditional medicine as an antibacterial, antifungal, antiallergenic and antioxidant have also made it popular. At this point the book comes to an abrupt end. The author’s passion and romanticism on the subject prevail through every word and picture but the structure leaves a lot to be desired as the reader comes across repetition, a lack of narrative flow, and brusque endings. An arbitrary box with a description of a proper way to wash one’s hands is a classic example that exemplifies the disorganisation in the narration. One hopes for another edition of the book with improved structure, as the intrinsic value of the subject and the author’s love and knowledge of it are significant contributions to the literature on bees. Honey - Nature’s Golden Healer. Gloria Havenhand, Kyle Cathie Limited, London, 2010. 160pp, £12.99.
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Pesticide Action Network UK PAN UK – Making a difference Pesticide Action Network UK works to eliminate the dangers of toxic pesticides, our exposure to them, and their presence in the environment where we live and work. Nationally and globally we promote safer alternatives, the production of healthy food and sustainable farming. Pesticide Action Network UK is an independent, non-profit organisation. We work around the world with likeminded groups and individuals concerned with health, environment and development to: Eliminate the hazards of pesticides ● Reduce dependence on pesticides and prevent unnecessary expansion of use ● Increase the sustainable and ecological alternatives to chemical pest control ●
You can subscribe to Pesticides News, donate to PAN UK and buy our publications at www.pan-uk.org
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Recent publications Communities in peril: Global report on health impacts of pesticide use in agriculture, 2009, www.panuk.org/publications/communi ties-in-peril Paraquat: unacceptable health risks for users, 2011, http://www.evb.ch/en/p1028 5.html Organic cotton systems reduce poverty and food insecurity for African farm families, 2010, available at www.pan-uk.org/ foodAfrica/index.html African partner leaflets 2010, about PAN’s partners in Africa, OBEPAB, Enda Pronat and the Yakaar Niani Wulli Organic
Farmers Federation, available at www.pan-uk.org/ foodAfrica/index.html My Sustainable T-shirt, 2010, an updated version of PAN UK’s definitive guide to organic cotton and ecolabelling, available at www.wearorganic.org Hibiscus, cashew and cotton - what’s the common thread? 2009, describes crops grown by African organic cotton farmers and how to support farmers’ livelihoods, available at www.pan-uk.org/ foodAfrica/index.html Moral Fibre, 2009, a guide to sustainable fashion for fashion students, available at www.WearOrganic.org
Periodicals Pesticides News – the most comprehensive quarterly source of information on pesticide problems and alternative developments. Extensive articles, resources, book reviews and news on UK, European and global issues. Current Research Monitor – an invaluable resource for researchers. This lists up-todate scientific and specialist research covering the impact of pesticides on health and the environment. Includes abstracts, research lists and conference details. PEX Newsletter – quarterly information and news sheet for people whose health has been affected by pesticides or who are concerned about the health effects of pesticides.
Subscription details £160 – Full corporate subscribers (commercial organisations and government departments) can receive up to four copies of Pesticides News and Current Research Monitor. Other benefits include all new PAN UK publications and books free of charge. £90 – Basic corporate subscribers receive one copy of Pesticides News and Current Research Monitor. £50 – Non-commercial subscribers (non-governmental/nonprofit/academic organisations) are entitled to Pesticides News, Current Research Monitor, and the PEX Newsletter. £25 – Individual subscribers are entitled to Pesticides News, Current Research Monitor, and the PEX Newsletter. Signed
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