Last week, the Chinese government officially announced that the country will phase out use of Syngenta's paraquat, an herbicide linked to Parkinson's, cancer and reduced fertility.
The official announcement stated that the ban had been imposed "in order to protect the health and safety of the people" and gave a phaseout timeline of four years.
Paraquat is listed as a highly hazardous pesticide, and, according to Keith Tyrell, Director of PAN UK, paraquat
…is one of the deadliest pesticides available in the world today. It is responsible for a huge proportion of the more than 250,000 deaths that occur from pesticide poisoning every year.
Here in the U.S., paraquat is registered for use in agriculture, though it is banned from home use.
Because of the many poisonings paraquat has been responsible for, it was one of the cases brought to the international human rights tribunal organized by PAN International in India last December. Malaysian pesticide sprayer Nagama Raman testified to her ongoing health problems due to exposure to paraquat, and to the harassment and intimidation with which her complaints were met.
Today, paraquat is banned in over 30 countries due to its severe impacts on human health. This latest ban comes after years of hard work by PAN China (PEAC), and is particularly significant because China is the world's largest manufacturer of the chemical, producing more than 100,000 tons of parquat per year. As PAN China's Sun Jing says, this is a signifcant win for "the health and life of millions of people in China."