Mar 222013

Background materials on the circumstances of Dr. Romy Quijano’s arrest and  harrassment right in the UPManila Campus, in violation of the UPSystem- DILG  Memorandum of Agreement of Dec.2, 1992.    Factsheet: Pesticide poisoning in Kamukhaan


Factsheet: Pesticide poisoning in Kamukhaan


Agriculture throughout the world reflects an ever-increasing use of pesticides. International competitiveness introduced by multinational corporations has forced many farmers in developing countries to grow new and unfamiliar crops for export markets, even though they are more susceptible to variations in climate and more vulnerable to pests.

Pesticides are widely used in both developed and developing countries, although they are poisons that have serious effects on public health.

The World Health Organization estimates that 3 million cases of severe pesticide poisonings, resulting in 220,000 deaths, occur each year.[1] These estimates are based on hospital registries and probably underestimate the actual number of pesticide poisonings. A survey of self-reported pesticide poisoning in four Asian countries estimated that 25 million people suffer from pesticide poisoning each year.[2]

Studies on the impact of pesticide use by Lapanday Agricultural Development Corporation (LADECO) on a nearby village, Kamukhaan, Digos, Davao del Sur, started in 1997 when Pesticide Action Network Philippines was approached by a local organization seeking for help.

A series of fact-finding missions led by a local multi-sectoral organization (Citizens Alliance Unified for Sectoral Empowerment) and Pesticide Action Network Philippines, revealed that 150 families or 700 individuals in Kamukhaan are being poisoned by the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides such as Paraquat, Macozeb, Maneb, Carbofuran, Glyphosate and Diazinon (see brief toxicological assessment of these pesticides.)

While these pesticides are approved for use by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), they are scientifically proven in the international community to pose significant health and environmental risks, and have been banned in some countries.

The findings of PAN Philippines, which included impacts of pesticide use on the residents, agricultural workers, and the environment, were based on medical examinations and testimonies from the villagers:

1)      Since the 1980s, these pesticides and herbicides have been applied to the bananas plantation daily. Further, fungicides were being sprayed aerially once or twice a month.

2)      The aerial drift of pesticides causes acute symptoms to the population of Kamukhaan that lives near the sprayed fields.

Residents claim to be overpowered by strong and odorous fumes every time an aerial spraying occurs. They experience feelings of suffocation, weakness, nausea,

painful stinging of the eyes and itching of the skin.

3)      Aside from acute symptoms, pesticide exposure causes a variety of chronic health effects to villagers, including cancers, neurologic and reproductive effects, respiratory and skin disorders, and impairment of immune functions.

It was observed that residents are vulnerable to fever, vomiting, cough and body aches. Several of them suffer ailments such as asthma, anemia, goiter, and cancer. Many residents believe that frequent deaths in the village due to these illnesses are related to pesticide exposure.

Further, infants are often born lifeless, or sick and with abnormalities. Their abnormalities range from cleft lip palate to severe skin diseases. The mental development of children was also noticed to be impaired.

4)      Older villagers remarked that the growth of plant and marine life were stunted since pesticide exposure.

Residents related that coconut trees that used to be their livelihood stopped bearing fruit. Raising pigs, chickens and other animals also proved very difficult because they would die when spraying occurs. Meanwhile, fishermen complain about the regular occurrence of fishkills and the scant daily catch as ever since the plantation started its operations.

5)      Agricultural workers in the plantation are more directly exposed to pesticides and are provided inadequate protection.

Men from the village are usually employed as drainage workers and pesticide applicators in the plantation. They work in direct contact with the hazardous chemicals, wearing little or no protective clothing.

Workers experience dizziness, weakness and skin itching as a result. They are absent from work almost once a week because of illnesses. Laborers report of co-workers who were hospitalized during pesticide handling and consequently died. Those who have worked for a long time in the plantation gradually become too sickly to continue.

6)      Blood, urine, and drinking water samples show traces of pesticides

There were positive results for ETU, a metabolite from the aerially sprayed fungicides, in 11 out of the 24 individuals examined. A sample from the hand-pump well which serves as the source of drinking water in the community also showed a positive result for ETU. Laboratory analysis was conducted in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila

These findings were corroborated by findings of an international fact-finding mission (IFFM) held last February 2003.

The IFFM was participated by the National Poison Control Center, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, AGHAM (Samahang Nagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya Parsa sa Sambayanan), KALIKASAN (People’s Network for the Environment), Center for Environmental Concerns, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Peasant Education Center, UP College of Social Work and Community Development, Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo, Student Christian Movement, and College Editors Guild of the Philippines.

International delegates included Kaveri Dutt, executive director of the Indian Institute of Paralegal Studies, and Jack Weinberg, of the International POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) Elimination Network.

The IFFM had these additional findings:

1)      Fishkills occur usually every time heavy rains occur. 

A canal that apparently serves as an irrigating system for the plantation lead to the Guihing river and eventually to the nearby sea. The residents reported that it has been a custom for the LADECO to re-spray the plantation every time there is heavy rains. This is because the chemicals earlier sprayed are washed out thus requiring the re-spraying of the plantation. It is quite clear that every time LADECO re-sprays its plantation, a large quantity of the chemicals it earlier sprayed is washed out to the river endangering the entire river ecosystem.

2) On top of gastro-intestinal and respiratory complaints typical in poor, rural, Filipino communities, atypical patterns were also observed in over a hundred villagers (37 males, 94 females and 39 children).

An unusually significant number of adult males showed signs and symptoms of anemia and possible blood dyscrasias. A significant number of patients, both males and females, exhibited signs and symptoms of tremors and palpitations suggestive of endocrine disruption. In addition, a considerable number of the children showed developmental delays including stunting, wasting, delays in the development of secondary sexual characteristics, and mental deficiencies.

Factsheet: LADECO and ownership by the Lorenzo’s

LADECO is owned by Lapanday Holdings, one of the country’s largest producers and exporters of fresh fruit, taking an 11% share of the total market. In 1999, Lapanday accounted for 33% of the total banana export market in the Philippines. Although bananas are the company’s main product, they also produce pineapples, mangos, seafood and processed fruits.

Lapanday owns 40 plantations in Mindanao, which represent 6,200 hectares of land and employ 7,300 people.

Luis Lorenzo Sr. acquired the Guihing, Lapanday, and Callawa farms from the Ayala-Aboitiz group in 1982.

The Lapanday farms produced and packed Cavendish bananas for Del Monte. In 1997,  Lapanday’s expanded from being a grower and packer for multinational brands to being a exporter and regional produce supplier. The first Philippine brands of fresh fruit were introduced to the global market – “Mabuhay,” “Estrella,” and “Aloha” – all grown and packed in farms owned and managed by Global Fruits Corporation, a fully owned Lapanday subsidiary.

On October 2001, Luis Lorenzo Jr. was appointed by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Presidential Adviser for the Creation of One Million Jobs.

On October 2002, Lorenzo was appointed as Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA) by Arroyo.

According to Lorenzo’s biodata in the DA’s official website, he is the Chairman & CEO of Lapanday Holdings Corporation, and Chairman of Lapanday Foods Corporation.

Factsheet: Attempts to expose pesticide poisoning and harassment

These findings of PAN Philippines were made public in an article “Poisoned Lives,” published in the Philippine Post last March 6, 2000.

This earned its authors, Dr. Quijano, and his daughter, Ilang-Ilang, as well as the publishers and editors of the newspaper, a P12 million libel case last August 2000.

The case was described by Davao Office of the Prosecutor as “a matter of public interest” and “written in good faith to call the attention of the public to the present state of health and risks of the residents of Kamukhaan, and for the government to take appropriate action,” and was eventually dismissed last .

In order to counter the findings of PAN Philippines, LADECO officials forced 7 individuals to sign a counter-affidavit denying allegations of poisoning, which were submitted to court.

Ever since the findings were made public, the local organization noted efforts by the company to woo the villagers by setting up livelihood programs and medical assistance. Still, regular pesticide sprayings continues.

ABS-CBN’s investigative TV show The Correspondents took interest in Kamukhaan and proceeded to do a documentary.

A few months later, on June 2002, LADECO filed a civil case for P5.5 million worth of damages against the Quijanos. The case is still on-going.

In the IFFM’s report last February 2003, the presence of armed goons was noted by the team. The villagers were scared to talked to them, after apparently having been threatened by the company.

At the same time, the team noticed that residents seem to be appeased by a basketball court, day care center, and sanitary pans constructed by the company, as well as cooperatives that provide them with loans.

The local organization recently reported that a hired killer is freely roaming the community, and one local organizer has fled the village for fear of her life. Dr. Quijano, upon his visit last June 2003, was prevented from entering the village because of death threats against him.

Last July 4, 2003, the Department of Justice Undersecretary suddenly reversed the fiscal’s earlier decision to dismiss the libel case. Upon learning this, the lawyer of the Quijanos immediately filed a memorandum at the regional trial court and was assured verbally that no warrant of arrest  would be issued. On September 8, 2003, however, Dr. Quijano was arrested based on a warrant of arrest issued on August 20, 2003.  Five practicing journalists (Ilang-Ilang Quijano- reporter of Pinoy Weekly; Leti Boniol- Inquirer desk editor; Danilo Mariano- editor; Nick Legaspi- Malaya deskperson; and Carlos Conde- New York Times correspondents) were also included in the arrest warrant although it was only Dr. Quijano who was actually arrested. Dr. Quijano and the others subsequently posted bail. The day after posting bail, Dr. Quijano was again served the same warrant of arrest by the police  from another  police district disguised as postal courier. The police left after being shown the release order issued the day before.

Brief toxicologic profiles of 6 pesticides of priority concern

By: Romeo F. Quijano, M.D.


Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology,

College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila

1. Paraquat (GRAMOXONE) 

Paraquat is a known highly toxic pesticide without an antidote, and has caused severe poisonings in exposed populations, especially in workers who use it. Non-worker populations are also at risk for exposure and health effects, in particular children. High rates of severe acute poisonings, both suicidal and unintentional, have been documented in many countries. Paraquat poisoning clearly remains a severe public health problem in many countries. In addition, topical injuries, including skin problems ranging from mild dermatitis up to severe chemical burns, eye injury, nail damage, and nosebleed, have been observed in proportions as high as 50% of exposed workers in both early and recent surveys. Long-term and delayed health effects may occur, including Parkinson’s Disease, lung effects, and skin cancer. Regulatory agencies have not fully recognized either the inherent toxicity of paraquat for human beings or the particular risks derived from conditions of use in developing countries. Concerns over impacts of paraquat have been growing across the world.

In fact, such has been the concern over paraquat that six European governments-namely Austria, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Slovenia, and Sweden-have enacted bans and restrictions on paraquat. The bans were primarily due to acute toxicity, absence of antidote, health and environmental concerns. Paraquat is banned even in its country of origin, Switzerland, the headquarters of Syngenta, the manufacturer of paraquat. In other countries strict severe restrictions and guidelines are applied. In Norway, the government decided in 1993 not to accept an application for the renewed registration of a paraquat product due to its toxicity. Kuwait and Malaysia have banned paraquat while Indonesia, Korea (Republic) and Togo have enacted restrictions on its use. In the Philippines, paraquat has been restricted for institutional use only since 1989 (Recently, however, this restriction has been lifted arbitrarily by the Director of the Pesticide Authority who is now the subject of a formal complaint for graft).

2&3. Mancozeb, Maneb (DITHANE, VONDOZEB) 

Mancozeb and maneb are similar fungicides belonging to the ethylene bis-thiocarbamate (EBDC) group of pesticides which are converted into ethylene thiourea (ETU), a known cancer causing chemical. Mancozeb and similar EBDCs are categorized by U.S. EPA as probable human carcinogens, meaning that there is sufficient documentation of the carcinogenic potential in animal studies. Although mancozeb and maneb are not considered highly toxic in acute exposure, EPA proposed to cancel most uses of mancozeb and similar EDBC pesticides in 1989 due to unacceptably high cancer risks. EPA reversed its decision in 1992 even though a National Toxicology Program study yielded clear evidence of the carcinogenicity of mancozeb’s breakdown product, ETU.

Mancozeb is listed as a cancer-causing chemical by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment under Proposition 65. The major toxicological concern from exposure to mancozeb is the hazard to the human thyroid from the presence of ethylenethiourea (ETU), a contaminant, degradation product, and metabolite present in mancozeb and other EDBC products. ETU is an acknowledged goitrogen, teratogen and oncogen (thyroid toxin, causes birth defects and tumors). Mancozeb and maneb breaks down to ETU in plants, animals, soil and water. Effects observed in long-term, low-dose exposure studies of test animals included decreases in weight gain and food consumption, increased kidney, heart, liver, spleen, and testicle mass, altered thyroid hormone levels and thyroid cancers. Chronic toxicity studies demonstrated thyroid abnormalities and altered levels of thyroid hormones. Experimental evidence suggests mancozeb and similar EBDCs may cause mutations in chromosomes. In a reproductive toxicity test, pituitary abnormalities and thyroid and kidney problems were observed. Due to this and other evidence, EBDCs are considered endocrine disruptors. EBDCs are skin sensitizers, causing allergic and contact dermatitis in humans.

4. Carbofuran (FURADAN) 

Carbofuran is a highly toxic pesticide used mainly as insecticide and nematicide. It has been banned in New Zealand, Finland and Libya and severely restricted in Belize, Kuwait, US and Canada. Following a Special Review, the USEPA initiated a ban on all granular formulations of carbofuran on September 1, 1994 due to extensive bird kills that they cause. According to the Ecological Incident Investigation System in the US, carbofuran has been responsible for more bird deaths than any other pesticide. The number of birds involved in any single incident ranges up to 2,450. Carbofuran has also killed mammals and fish. US Fish and Wildlife biologists have stated, “there are no known circumstances under which carbofuran can be used without killing birds.” In 1989, US EPA estimated that 1 to 2 million birds were killed each year by carbofuran alone. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requested that the EPA cancel all registrations for carbofuran. Many prominent environmental organizations oppose the continued use of carbofuran, but its use is still sanctioned by the EPA.

Carbofuran is highly toxic by inhalation and ingestion and moderately toxic by dermal absorption . Symptoms of carbofuran poisoning include: nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, sweating, diarrhea, excessive salivation, weakness, imbalance, blurring of vision, breathing difficulty, increased blood pressure, and incontinence. Death may result at high doses from respiratory system failure associated with carbofuran exposure. Carbofuran is one of the pesticides most frequently reported in farmworker poisonings. Carbofuran is considered highly acutely toxic because exposure to this nerve toxin can cause immediate severe poisoning symptoms, including headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and, in severe cases, seizures, cardio respiratory depression, and coma. Carbofuran has been listed as a potential endocrine disruptor by the German federal Agency. It has also been shown to cause sperm and reproductive system damage in animals and thyroid system damage in ewes, resulting in abnormal thyroxine concentrations. Contrary to claims of the manufacturer and official review bodies, carbofuran has been found to be embryotoxic and teratogenic(causing fetal abnormalities) and genotoxic, thus, a potential cancer causing chemical.

5. Glyphosate (ROUND-UP) 

Glyphosate is a broad spectrum, non-selective systemic herbicide which kills all plants, including grasses, broad leaf and woody plants. It is absorbed mainly through the leaves and is transported around the whole plant, killing all parts of it. Glyphosate can interfere with some enzyme functions in animals but symptoms of acute poisoning are only seen at very high doses. However, products containing glyphosate also contain other compounds which can be more acutely toxic. In particular most contain surfactants known as polyoxyethyleneamines (POEA). They are serious irritants of the respiratory tract, eyes and skin and are contaminated with dioxane (not dioxin) which is a suspected carcinogen. Some are toxic to fish. In California, glyphosate is the third most commonly-reported cause of pesticide related illness among agricultural workers. Glyphosate is the most frequent cause of complaints to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive’s Pesticides Incident Appraisal Panel.

Besides the active ingredient and the surfactant which are thought to cause the clinical effects seen in poisoning exposures, the by-products that are found in glyphosate formulations are also responsible for some clinical effects. Although acute toxicity is relatively low compared to most insecticides, the poisoning seen in glyphosate exposure cases range from minor to severe, especially in intentional ingestion of substantial amounts(about 1 glass). :
In relatively minor exposure, symptoms maybe localised to oral mucous membrane or the gastrointestinal system which usually last less than 24 hours, with inflammation of the oesophagus, oral ulceration, increase in urine output, liver or renal damage and acid base disturbance. In severe cases, respiratory failure, renal failure, reduction of blood pressure, cardiac arrest, coma and seizures could occur. When an exposure to glyphosate occurs locally, the clinical effects seen are usually classified as mild to moderate effects. These local effects include erythema, piloerection and contact dermatitis. It is expected that the severity of a skin exposure will be significantly decreased with a less concentrated product. Among the most common effect seen from slight eye contact with the herbicide is mild conjunctivitis which normally clears in one to two days. More severe exposure, however, may result in more serious effects.

Monsanto claims that glyphosate does not cause reproductive problems . However,tests with rabbits have shown adverse dose-dependent effects on semen and spermquality , and other studies at high dosages have reported effects such as decreasedlitter size and reduced sperm counts in rats. Some literature suggests that glyphosate can cause chronic health effects in laboratory animals. Lifetime glyphosate feeding studies have shown reduced weight gain, liver and kidney effects and degradation of the eye lens although these effects were significant only at the higher doses tested. At lower doses inflammation of the stomach’s mucus membrane was observed . A sub-chronic feeding study with rats showed effects on blood and pancreas. On mice this resulted in reduced body weights. In toxicity studies with pregnant rats and rabbits, glyphosate caused treatment-related effects such as diarrhoea, reduced weight, nasal discharge and death. In a toxicity study (rats), kidney effects showed up in male pups, and in another study digestive effects and decreased weight.

Although the US EPA classifies glyphosate as non-carcinogenic for humans, the three lifetime studies, conducted between 1979 and 1990, of laboratory animals fed varying doses of glyphosate showed increases in testicular interstitial tumours in males, an increase in thyroid cancers in females, increases in kidney tumours in male mice, and an increase in pancreatic and liver tumours in male rats, but all discounted for various reasons. Nevertheless, a recent Swedish study found that increased rates of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were associated with exposure to the pesticides Roundup and MCPA. A review of previous genotoxicity studies on glyphosate also suggested that there is no genotoxicity for glyphosate alone and a weak effect for formulated products . Nevertheless, A recent study testing the genotoxicity of glyphosate and Roundup in vivo recorded cytogenic damage in mouse bone marrow which was more pronounced for Roundup. A DNA-damaging activity of glyphosate and Roundup was also observed in the mice’s liver and kidneys .

The use of glyphosate may result in residues in crops and animal tissue or drinking water destined for human consumption. The World Health Organisation (WHO) found that pre-harvest use of glyphosate (for late season weed control or as a pre-harvest desiccant) results in significant residues in the grain and plant material. The WHO also found that glyphosate residues in animal feeds arising from pre-harvest glyphosate treatment of cereals may result in detectable residues in meat, milk and eggs. In storage, residues of glyphosate are reported to be stable for one year in plant material and for two years in animal products. Generally, glyphosate residues are not monitored in food since methods of analysis are complex and costly.

Glyphosate is one of the most toxic herbicides, with many species of wild plants being damaged or killed by applications of less than 10 micrograms per plant. Glyphosate can be more damaging to wild flora than many other herbicides, as aerial spraying with glyphosate can give average drifts of 1200 to 2500 feet and ground spraying with glyphosate may cause damage to sensitive plants up to 300 feet from the field sprayed. Glyphosate use may also affect hedgerow trees, causing die-back, and may reduce trees’ winter hardiness and resistance to fungal disease. Although the acute toxicity of glyphosate to mammals and birds is low, its effect on flora can have a damaging effect on mammals and birds through habitat destruction. The US EPA concluded that many endangered species of plants, as well as the Houston toad, may be at risk from glyphosate use.

Fish and invertebrates are more sensitive to formulations of glyphosate. As with humans, the surfactants are responsible for much of the harm . Toxicity is increased with higher water temperatures, and pH. In Australia, guidelines state that most formulations of glyphosate should not be used in or near water because of their toxic effects on tadpoles and adult frogs. Of nine herbicides tested for their toxicity to soil microorganisms, glyphosate was found to be the second most toxic to a range of bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes and yeasts. However, when glyphosate comes into contact with the soil it rapidly binds to soil particles and is inactivated. Unbound glyphosate is degraded by bacteria. Low activity because of binding to soil particles suggests that glyphosate’s effects on soil flora will be limited. However, some recent work shows that glyphosate can be readily released from certain types of soil particles, and therefore may leach into water or be taken up by plants.

6. Diazinon (BASUDIN) 

Diazinon is an organophosphate insecticide used in agriculture, commerce, and households. Diazinon’s toxic action is achieved mainly by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme essential for normal nerve impulse transmission in insects, animals and humans. t is classified by WHO as moderately toxic pesticide but clinical data and observations in the field reveal that diazinon is a highly toxic pesticide. Symptoms of acute poisoning include headache, nausea, dizziness, tearing, sweating, salivation, drowsiness, agitation, anxiety, and in-fluenza-like symptoms. Symptoms of higher exposure include an abnormal heart rate, muscle weakness, muscle twitching, pin-point pupils, lung congestion, seizures and cardiac arrest. Seizures are much more common in children than in adults. Infants are particularly susceptible and can develop cerebral palsy after diazinon exposure . Inflammation of the pancreas is another symptom that is “not rare” in children with diazinon poisoning. A USEPA review found that “symptoms may persist for months or years after the initial exposure.” Persistent symptoms include blurred vision, headaches, muscle weakness, lethargy, short term memory impairment, inability to concentrate, confusion, lowered intelligence test scores, depression, and irritability. Diazinon causes allergic skin reactions in people. About 10 percent of people tested showed positive dermal sensitization.

Several studies have demonstrated clearly the neurotoxic effect of diazinon. In five studies ( a six-week study of people; a one-year, a three-month, and a one-month study of dogs; and a one-month study of female rats). AChE inhibition occurred at strikingly low doses: the animals were fed less than 50 micro-grams per kilogram of animal body weight per day.

Diazinon exposure of pregnant animals in laboratory tests has demonstrated that this insecticide can cause a variety of reproductive problems, including damage to the developing nervous system, delays in sexual development, stillbirths, death of newborn offspring, and birth defects. The effects on the developing nervous system are most significant. An EPA-funded study using mice exposed to low levels of diazinon in their food found that the endurance and coordination of the offspring was impaired. A study of dogs that were fed diazinon(1 mg/kg per day) during pregnancy showed that their exposure increased the number of stillbirths.

The researchers noted that diazinon made the mothers “extremely high strung” resulting in stillbirths as the mothers “would not lay still while giving birth.”

These researchers also found that feeding diazinon (5 mg/kg per day) to pregnant pigs increased the incidence of skull deformities in the offspring. Another feeding study in pregnant rats found that the number of offspring that died was greater in litters from exposed mothers than for litters from unexposed mothers. Diazinon also has caused atrophied testicles in male dogs.

In tests with cultures of cells from a human colon, low concentrations of diazinon had growth-promoting effects, suggesting diazinon had interfered with the normal activity of estrogen, an endocrine disrupting effect. Estrogen has recently been shown to affect the development and growth of cells in the lining of the colon. The result of abnormal growth of these cells is colon cancer. Although diazinon has been classified as “not likely” to be a carcinogen by EPA, studies of people who have used diazinon, show just the opposite: there is an association between diazinon use and the risk of certain types of cancer, such as brain cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Again, although a WHO review (of mainly industry supplied data) stated that diazinon “gave no evidence of mutagenic potential”, a series of other studies show that diazinon in fact can damage genes in human blood cells, in cells from laboratory animals, and in bacteria.

A wide variety of chemicals interact synergistically with diazinon, meaning that their toxicity together is greater than the sum of their individual toxicities. This synergism has been observed with compounds from strikingly different chemical classes, including other pesticides, drugs, and nutrients. The length of the list is sobering, since real-life exposures are often to multiple chemicals while most toxicological testing and most regulation of hazardous chemicals is based on single exposures. If a diazinon-containing product is contaminated with a trace of water, some of the diazinon in the product breaks down into two chemicals that are extremely potent neurotoxins: monothiotepp and sulfotepp. Monothitepp has been reported to be about 14,000 times more toxic than diazinon. Under conditions of storage and use in developing countries, the formation of these extremely toxic substances are likely to occur, explaining the very high incidence and the severity of poisonings observed in these countries. Diazinon, in fact, is one of the leading causes of pesticide poisonings documented in many countries, including the United States.

[1] World Health Organization. The Public Health Impact of Pesticide Use in Agriculture. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 1990.

[2] Jeyaratnam J. Acute pesticide poisoning: A Major Global Health Problem. World Health Stat Q. 1990;43:139-44

The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in Aug 28th 2004



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