I know I've written it before, but we're really witnessing the endgame for endosulfan in Geneva this week. I'm here, once again, for negotiations under the Stockholm Convention, otherwise known as the POPS treaty. The global agreement bans the worst of the worst chemicals — Persistent Organic Pollutants like dioxins and PCBs. As I've been chronicling in this blog, endosulfan has been winding its way through the Convention's evaluation process for several years now. If the stars align, it'll finally be added to the Convention this week, triggering a global phaseout.
Pesticide companies in India are pulling out all the stops to keep endosulfan on the market. As nations of the world prepare to gather next month to decide on a global ban of this neurotoxic pesticide, endosulfan's makers have launched an aggressive campaign to protect their product.
Our PAN partners in India are fed up, and have asked for our help in countering corporate influence on India's official stance on endosulfan. Please add your voice to the global effort to press the Indian government to put public health before industry profits.
Endosulfan is in the news in India again, with new evidence of the insecticide's impact on children and bees.
On January 23, a report covered in The Hindu found that endosulfan is linked to declining honeybee populations in Idukki and Kasaragod districts in India. Scientists observed that the day following an endosulfan spray, local honeybees showed symptoms of poisoning and died. Corresponding declines in fruit yields were also reported where endosulfan had been sprayed, possibly reflecting the loss of the pollinators.
The media paid serious attention to pesticides last year. Three of PAN’s leading issues — atrazine in the Midwest, methyl iodide in California, and endosulfan everywhere — were among the “Top 10 Environmental Health Stories for 2010.” Editors of Environmental Health News selected the top stories from 68,000 newspaper and magazine articles, radio and TV broadcasts and online media coverage.
The suffering caused by years of endosulfan use on cashew plantations in Kerala's Kasaragod district is well known: birth defects, high rates of mental retardation, and delayed puberty, in addition to the hundreds of deaths directly attributed to the antiquated insecticide. Now, the Indian press is reporting another cluster of endosulfan-induced disease a couple hundred miles away in Muthalamada district, also part of the state of Kerala.