[Reader-list] Mass Petition Demanding total ban of the production and use of Endosulfan

santhosh hk santhoshhrishikesh at gmail.com
Sat Nov 27 20:14:25 IST 2010

Mass Petition
Demanding total ban of the production and use of Endosulfan- the toxic


The Minister of Environment
Government of India

Dear Sir

We, the concerned citizens and affected people, would like to invite your
urgent attention to the disastrous results that Endosulfan- - the toxic
pesticide – has wreaked on the lives people and environment of India. On the
basis of clear evidence that unmistakably and amply demonstrated the adverse
impact of Endosulfan, we urge you to immediately ban the production,
distribution and the use of this toxic pesticide in India
Endosulfan is being considered for a global ban by the Stockholm Convention
Persistent Organic Pollutants. It is indeed a matter of grave concern that
India is one of the countries opposing this ban, especially given the
population density of the nation and the popular ignorance of the extent to
which pesticides can be harmful.
India is one of the countries worst affected by the production and use of
the toxic pesticide. The people of India have a right to life, guaranteed by
Article 21 of our Constitution. As Endosulfan, being a confirmed toxic
pesticide, has been proved to have adverse impact on the right to health and
life of the people, we demand urgent ban of the production, distribution and
use of Endosulfan at the very earliest.

I. Evidence Against the Use of Endosulfan in India
We would like to invite your attention to following clear evidences against
the production and use of Endosulfan.
1) Endosulfan is an organochlorine compound that is used as an insecticide
and acaricide. It is one of the most toxic pesticides in the market today,
responsible for many fatal pesticide poisoning incidents around the world.]
Endosulfan is also a xenoestrogen—a synthetic substance that imitates or
enhances the effect of estrogens—and it can act as an endocrine disruptor,
causing reproductive and developmental damage in both animals and humans.
There are also studies that indicate that endosulfan may a potential cause
for cancer

2) India the world's largest user of endosulfan, and a major producer with
three companies—Excel Crop Care, H.I.L., and Coromandal
Fertilizers—producing 4,500 tonnes annually for domestic use and another
4,000 tonnes for export. Banned in more than 63 countries, including the
European Union, Australia and New Zealand, and other Asian and West African
nations, and soon in the United States[3][4]this toxic pesticide is
extensively in many parts of India. It is produced by Bayer Crop Science,
Makhteshim Agan, and Government-of-India–owned Hindustan Insecticides
Limited among others. Because of its threats to the environment, there is an
increasing demand for the global ban on the use and manufacture of
endosulfan under the Stockholm Convention.

3) Endosulfan was used in Kasrgod district of Kerala since 1979. The
disastrous impact of Endosulfan was first seen among animals and then among
the adverse health conditions of people living in the areas. By the 1990s,
the human population of Kasaragod came face to face with the scale of the
tragedy. With congenital anomalies, mental retardation, physical
deformities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, hydrocephalus etc, the innocent
children of the area were found to be the worst affected. Men and women were
also affected with various chronic ailments, many irreversible and difficult
to treat. There is a high incidence of disorders of the central nerves
system, Cancer and reproductive disorders. The National Institute
Occupational Health (Indian Council of Medical Research) says that after
studying various etiological factors responsible for health problem was
aerial spraying of Endosulfan.

4) Due to local protests of people, the issue has acquired more visibility
and attention of the policy makers. In 2001, in Kerala, endosulfan spraying
became suspect when linked to a series of abnormalities noted in local
children. . Initially endosulfan was banned, yet under pressure from the
pesticide industry this ban was largely revoked. Due to the recent protest
against Endosulfan, the use of the pesticide is again banned in Kerala. The
situation there has been called "next in magnitude only to the Bhopal gas
tragedy."In 2006, in Kerala, compensation of Rs 50,000 was paid to the next
kin of each of 135 people who were identified as having died as a result of
endosulfan use. Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan also gave an assurance to
people affected by poisoning, "that the government would chalk out a plan to
take care of treatment, food and other needs of the affected persons and
that its promise of rehabilitation of victims would be honoured."

All the above points clearly show the urgent need for banning the production
and use of endosulfan in India.
II. Scientific Evidence against the production and use of Endosulfan
We would further invite your attend to the scientific evidence against the
use of Endosulfan.

a) Toxicity
Endosulfan is acutely neurotoxic to both insects and mammals, including
humans. The US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) classifies it as
Category I: "Highly Acutely Toxic" based on a LD value of 30 mg/kg for
female rats while the World Health Organization classifies it as Class II
"Moderately Hazardous" based on a rat LD50 of 80 mg/kg. It is a GABA-gated
chloride channel antagonist, and a Ca2+, Mg2+ ATPase inhibitor. Both of
these enzymes are involved in the transfer of nerve impulses. Symptoms of
acute poisoning include hyperactivity, tremors, convulsions, lack of
coordination, staggering, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting,
diarrhea, and in severe cases, unconsciousness. Doses as low as 35 mg/kg
have been documented to cause death in humans,] and many cases of sub-lethal
poisoning have resulted in permanent brain damage] Farm workers with chronic
endosulfan exposure are at risk of rashes and skin irritation. EPA's acute
reference dose for dietary exposure to endosulfan is 0.015 mg/kg for adults
and 0.0015 mg/kg for children. For chronic dietary exposure, the EPA
references doses are 0.006 mg/ (kg•day) and 0.0006 mg/ (kg•day) for adults
and children, respectively.

b) Adverse Impact on Health

Several studies have documented that endosulfan can also affect human
development. Researchers studying children from an isolated village in
Kerala, India have linked endosulfan exposure to delays in sexual maturity
among boys. Endosulfan was the only pesticide applied to cashew plantations
in the hills above the village for 20 years and had contaminated the village
environment. The researchers compared the villagers to a control group of
boys from a demographically similar village that lacked a history of
endosulfan pollution. Relative to the control group, the exposed boys had
high levels of endosulfan in their bodies, lower levels of testosterone, and
delays in reaching sexual maturity. Birth defects of the male reproductive
system including cryptorchidism were also more prevalent in the study group.
The researchers concluded that "our study results suggest that endosulfan
exposure in male children may delay sexual maturity and interfere with sex
hormone synthesis." Increased incidences of cryptorchidism have been
observed in other studies of endosulfan exposed populations.
A 2007 study by the California Department of Public Health found that women
who lived near farm fields sprayed with endosulfan and the related
organochloride pesticide dicofol during the first eight weeks of pregnancy
are several times more likely to give birth to children with autism. This is
the first study to look for an association between endosulfan and autism,
and additional study is needed to confirm the connection.]
A 2009 assessment concluded that epidemiology and rodent studies that
suggest male reproductive and autism effects are open to other
interpretations, and that developmental or reproductive toxicity occurs only
at endosulfan doses that cause neurotoxicity.

c) Environmental Impact
Endosulfan is a very persistent chemical which may stay in the environment
for lengthy periods of time, particularly in acid media." It is pointed out
that “endosulfan has relatively high potential to bioaccumulate in fish." It
is also toxic to amphibians: low levels have been found to kill tadpoles.]
Endosulfan is subject to long range atmospheric transport, i.e. it can
travel long distances from where it is used. For example, a 2008 report by
the National Park Service found that endosulfan commonly contaminates air,
water, plants and fish of national parks in the U.S. Most of these parks are
far from areas where endosulfan is used]Endosulfan has also been detected in
dust from the Sahara Desert collected in the Caribbean after being blown
across the Atlantic Ocean.] In 2009, the committee of scientific experts of
the Stockholm Convention concluded that "endosulfan is likely, as a result
of long range environmental transport, to lead to significant adverse human
health and environmental effects such that global action is warranted."

d) Global Advocacy Against Endosulfan
In 2007, the international community took steps to restrict the use and
trade of endosulfan. It is recommended for inclusion in the Rotterdam
Convention on Prior Informed Consent, and the European Union proposed to add
it to the list of chemicals banned under the Stockholm Convention on
Persistent Organic Pollutants. If approved, all use and manufacture of
endosulfan would be banned globally. Meanwhile, Canada announces that
endosulfan is under consideration for phase-out in that country, [and Bayer
Crop Science voluntarily pulls its endosulfan products from the U.S. market]
but continues to sell them abroad.
In February 2008, environmental, consumer, and farm labor groups including
the Natural Resources Defense Council, Organic Consumers Association, and
the United Farm Workers called on the U.S. EPA to ban endosulfan. In May,
coalitions of scientists, environmental groups, and arctic tribes asked the
EPA to cancel endosulfan, [and in July a coalition of environmental and
workers groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA challenging its 2002 decision
to not ban it. In October, the Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention
moved endosulfan along in the procedure for listing under the treaty, while
India blocked its addition to the Rotterdam Convention

We would further like to invite your attention to the clear case of the
adverse impact of Endosulfan in the state of Kerala:

In Kerala, the pesticide was banned in 2001, but as per the Insecticide act
1968, State Governments do not have the authority to ban a pesticide, and
the ban was subsequently lifted. The sale of the pesticide was stopped by
the order of the Kerala High Court in 2002, and later, in 2006, the Ministry
of Agriculture and Cooperation Issued a Gazette Notification, withholding
its further sale in the state. It is widely reported in the press with ample
proof that the use of Endosulfan is being continued to be used in Kerala on
a large scale.

We demand a complete ban of production, distribution and use of Endosulfan
in the country to ensure health and safety people and environmental
sustainability of India.

We demand the victims of the tragedy be identified and be given health care
extensively and free of cost as also a compensation befitting the
proportions of the tragedy that has befallen them.

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