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Heal Toxics is a member of the International POPs Elimination Network

This website provides resources on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and wastes. Valuable examples of community monitoring of health and environmental impacts of toxic chemicals are also furnished.

Further, there is an entire section devoted to chemical safety in its proper socio-political context or in relation to issues such as globalization and people's empowerment.


Banned pesticide used in government-sponsored tree-planting project

By Ananeza Aban, Pinoy Weekly

DAVAO CITY- Environmental groups denounced the tree-planting project by the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) that will use extensive doses of an internationally banned pesticide.

According to the Watershed Management Coordinating Council (WMCC), the environment would not be saved if poisonous chemicals such as Paraquat will be used, even in tree-planting.

The Sagip Kalikasan tree-planting project is spearheaded by the owners of big banana plantations in Davao, in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

According to Victor Cañizares, WMCC president, "It is but ironic to realize a project like "Sagip Kalikasan" and on the other hand promote the use of an internationally banned chemical."

"The project is bogus since Paraquat, a banned pesticide, will not save the environment and definitely runs contrary of their objectives to promote sustainable agriculture and exercise their social responsibility," said Lia Esquillo, executive director of Interface Development Interventions Inc.

Last week, the Banana Export Industry Foundation (BEIF), PBGEA, DENR, along with Syngenta Philippines, producer and distributor of Paraquat, held a golf tournament to raise funds for the tree-planting project.

Syngenta Philippines is set to give technical and material support, from preparation of the land up to the maintenance of the trees, using Paraquat (or brand name Gramoxone) purportedly to control weeds around the trees.

But according to Esquillo, if banana plantation owners wanted to prove their social responsibility to the environment, they should not use banned pesticides. Huge, mostly transnational, banana plantations in Mindanao are extensive users of pesticides, which have been reported to cause damaging effects to surrounding communities and the environment.

WMCC also called the attention of the Fertilizers and Pesticides Authority under the DENR, the concerned government agency tasked to implement laws regarding restricted and banned pesticides.

The Senate of the Philippines has recently passed Resolution 106, "Concuring in the Ratification of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)," which was pushed by environmental organizations through the years.

The Stockholm Convention is an international agreement to protect people’s health and the environment from POPs. It aims to eliminate the production, use, and waste of 12 dangerous chemicals classified as the 'Dirty Dozen'. These are: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins and furans.

The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) declared Paraquat as part of the Dirty Dozen based on its active ingredient. According to scientific studies, Paraquat is a highly toxic pesticide without an antidote and causes severe poisonings in a lot of people, especially to farmworkers who use them.

"Worldwide concern over the adverse effects of Paraquat on health is growing. It is time for the government to implement existing laws banning the use of Paraquat," Cañizares said.

There are already seven countries in Europe banning Paraquat. These are Austria, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland, which is the country of origin and the headquarters of Syngenta. In 1993, Norway decided to cancel the permit to produce Paraquat. In Asia, Kuwait and Malaysia have also prohibited the use of Paraquat.

According to Dr. Romeo Quijano, professor of the University of the Philippines Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and president of PAN Philippines, Paraquat causes skin diseases-- from simple dermititis to severe burns, eye irritation, and other acute effects. Meanwhile, its chronic effects include Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and lung disease among those exposed for prolonged periods.

©heal toxics, 2003
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Global demonstration against waste and pollution launched (by PAN Philippines)

Banned pesticide used in government-sponsored tree-planting project (by Pinoy Weekly)

Court Orders Biopharm Crops Disclosed (by PANNA)

Malawi works to eliminate dangerous pesticide (by Mail and Guardian)

EU wants to expand 'Dirty Dozen' chemicals list (by Reuters)

Fetuses very susceptible to combustion pollutants (by ScienceNews)

Australian Town joins global war on plastic bags (by Reuters)

Fewer boys linked to chemical pollution (by Globe and Mail)

Unethical advertising of paraquat in Thailand (by PAN AP)

Court relief for Bhopal victims (by BBC News)