Health Professionals and scientists warn: Endosulfan is a potential catastrophic global disaster!

25 Jul 2008

In a joint press release today, health professionals and toxicologist belonging to RESIST Agrochem TNCs (Resistance and Solidarity against Agrochemical TNCs) called on the government on intense danger of Endosulfan and said that people's welfare is in serious jeopardy. The group warns that Endosulfan is a potential catastrophic global disaster.

Dr. Romeo Quijano, Toxicologist and Professor of College of Medicine in University of the Philippines, Manila campus and co-convenor of the RESIST network stated that, "I am alarmed by several news reports that trivialize the extreme danger that the toxic cargo, endosulfan, still lying inside the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars, poses on all of us. A pesticide regulatory official from the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) reportedly "allayed fears the hundreds of drums containing endosulfan would cause massive marine pollution", and that "there would only be a very slight amount of endosulfan that would be dissolved in water". The first statement is false and the second statement is grossly misleading. "

"There is no question that a massive global environmental pollution (not only marine pollution) would occur if the 10 tons of endosulfan were released into the seawater. Only shameless ignorance or cold-blooded vested interest could explain why one would callously ignore such potentially catastrophic global disaster. The facts are so clear there should be no need for an "expert" to explain further," added Quijano.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang, President of AGHAM - an organization of scientists and science workers - and co-convenor of the RESIST network stated that, "the second statement from FPA official is grossly misleading because while it is true that "there would be a very slight amount of endosulfan that would be dissolved in water", this "slight amount" is sufficient to kill fish and cause adverse health effects in animals and humans upon exposure. While the solubility of endosulfan in water is only 0.22-0.33 mg/L(milligrams per liter), this is already about 2,500X the concentration levels that would kill fish (0.05-0.13 ug/L), about about 800X the concentration that is toxic to the sperm (.407 ug/L) and about 8X the level that would increase the risk of breast cancer (40.7 ug/L)."

Dr. Gene Nisperos Vice-chairperson of Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) and co-convenor of RESIST network, for his part said that "Endosulfan belongs to the group of highly toxic chemicals called persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and has been formally proposed by the European Union to be included in the official list of chemicals for global elimination under the Stockholm Convention, which the Philippines has already ratified. In fact, the Philippines had banned endosulfan in 1994 and had proposed in 1996 that endosulfan be included in the initial list of POPs under the said treaty but due to the intervention of vested interests, regulatory authorities allowed endosulfan to be used almost indefinitely in this country."

The RESIST network declared that there is an urgent need to address the immediate danger that the toxic endosulfan cargo poses on the entire planet. Preventive and remedial measures should not be dependent on the willingness of the accountable companies to pay.

Wilfredo Marbella, deputy secretary general for internal affairs of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and co-convenor of RESIST stressed that, "the resources of the government and international bodies should be mobilized while undertaking measures to ensure the accountability of those companies involved. There should be an effective participation of people's organizations in the task force addressing this issue. People's welfare is in peril."

RESIST Agrochem TNCs
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