EU to phase out Telone; Global Syngenta protests; Ship Bhopal waste to U.S. for disposal? and more…

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Pesticide Action Network Updates Service (PANUPS)

A Weekly News Update on Pesticides, Health and Alternatives

See PANUPS updates service, for complete information.

Europe set to phase out the fumigant 1,3-dichloropropene (Telone): The European Commission (EC) has decided not to re-register the soil fumigant 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D or Telone), and has developed a phase-out timeline that ends EU member state approvals of the pesticide in March 2008, while still allowing existing stocks to be used until March 2009. An 18-month extension may be granted in light of the use of 1,3-D as an alternative to methyl bromide, due to be phased out globally by 2015 because of its ozone-depleting potential. The EC decision was based on several areas of concern, including “the release in the environment of large amounts of known and unknown polychlorinated impurities, for which no information on persistency, toxicological behaviour, uptake from crops, accumulation, metabolic fate and residue level are available….The Commission decision also notes concerns over the risk of groundwater contamination and effects on wildlife and aquatic organisms. Dow AgroSciences, the manufacturer of Telone, indicates that it will be submitting additional data on the chemical in order to ensure re-registration before the AI is scheduled to be removed from the market.”

Worldwide protest against Syngenta-linked killing: Hundreds of farmers and activists around the world took action on November 7, protesting the murder of Valmir Mota d’Oliveira, a leader from Via Campesina who was killed during an occupation of a Syngenta genetically modified field trial in Brazil. Via Campesina is an international peasants movement; they have the full story.

Federal suit to protect salmon from pesticides: Commercial fishers and environmentalists joined together to file a lawsuit to stop pesticide applications near rivers and streams in the Pacific Northwest and California. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, charges the National Marine Fisheries Service and EPA with failing to protect fish from 54 pesticides in West Coast streams, despite a 2002 court order to do so. Aimee Code, from the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, a coplaintiff, stated: “It is irresponsible for wildlife agencies to ignore evidence [that the pesticides cause abnormal sexual development, impair swimming ability, and reduce growth rate] and allow business as usual to continue while salmon and steelhead populations continue to slip toward extinction.” Chemical and Engineering News has the full report.

Spraying for moth in California wrapping up for season: “We’re done in Santa Cruz County, 100 percent done,” Nancy Lungren, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Nov. 11. Meanwhile, the agency completed spraying, begun in the Monterey area in early September, over Salinas and other parts of the Monterey Bay region. The controversial aerial application of CheckMate, a pheromone-based product intended to interrupt mating behavior and control the spread of the light brown apple moth (LBAM), is the first stage of a planned three-year program to “eradicate” the moth, an invasive species first detected in California in 2006, but widespread in Australia and other countries. Rumor has it that spraying will extend into the San Francisco and East Bay area when the program resumes in February or March. See PANNA’s LBAM page for the complete story.

Gujarat rejects disposal of Bhopal waste: The government of the state of Gujarat in India “has refused to allow disposal of toxic waste from the abandoned Union Carbide plant at the incinerator facility in Ankleshwar, according to letters from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board and the State’s Department of Forest and Environment,” reports The Hindu. At a Nov. 11 press conference in Bhopal, local organizations gave journalists copies of the letters, obtained through India’s Right to Information Act. Satinath Sarangi, of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, said that the government of Madhya Pradesh, where Bhopal is located, “‘should force Dow Chemical to clean up and ship the toxic waste to some facility in the United States just as the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board forced Unilever in 2003 to ship its mercury waste from its thermometer factory in Kodaikanal to the United States for treatment and disposal.'”

Punjab pesticide use linked to cancer: “Punjab’s Malwa region, south of the Sutlej river, grabbed national attention a couple of years ago when its steeply rising cancer graph came to light,” reports India’s Down to Earth magazine. “Studies had revealed the link between heavy pesticide use and the disease…. ‘The Malwa region is a cotton belt and pesticide use is the highest here. The farmers here have been using pesticides for decades and the fallout is becoming evident in the rising number of cancer cases,’ explains G P I Singh, [head of] Community Medicine, Dayanand Medical College. Malwa consumes 75 per cent of the pesticides used in Punjab…. The state, in turn, uses 17 per cent of the total pesticides applied in India…. Although pesticide use in Punjab came down from 6,900 tonnes in 2003-04 to 6,000 tonnes in 2005-06, officials say it is likely to increase due to a mealy bug attack this year. ‘While last year we had to spray only five times, this year we have already sprayed 16 times,’ says a farmer in Bathinda.” In addition to cancer, doctors report many cases of birth defects. G P I Singh explains: “Cancer is just one of the fallouts of pesticide use.”

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