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World Environment Day: Ban On Child-harming Pesticide Urged

is among the Highly Hazardous Pesticides used in
floriculture farms where children work in Tamil Nadu,
according to a PANAP study. Photo credit:

PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) today
urged regulatory authorities to ban cypermethrin, a Highly
Hazardous Pesticide (HHP) still widely used in Asia. This
call comes at the heels of the European Union’s (EU)
recent decision
to withdraw the approval of cypermethrin
, compelling
Member States to no longer approve products containing the
active substance by December 2021 at the

Cypermethrin is part of the PANAP’s Terrible
Twenty pesticides that are especially toxic to children. Cypermethrin
is a pyrethroid that is linked to long term behavioural
problems in children. It is immunotoxic and an endocrine
disruptor. Other potential hazards to children include acute
poisoning, developmental disorders, as well as breast
cancer, male reproductive problems, and Parkinson’s
disease later in life.

In Asia, cypermethrin is still
widely used as a household insecticide and in farms. In
Malaysia, for instance, the use of cypermethrin is allowed;
while in India, cypermethrin is restricted and can only be
used for pest control by a licensed operator.

a study
by PANAP, PAN India, and Society for Rural Education and
Development in floriculture farms in Tamil Nadu, India
revealed the common use of cypermethrin. It was identified
as an active ingredient in four products used by farmers and
to which children working as informal labourers in flower
farms are exposed to. In the study, children exposed to
pesticides experienced dizziness, fatigue, vomiting and skin
lesions. They were facing difficulties in concentrating at
school, among other symptoms of poisoning.

is among the Highly Hazardous Pesticides used in
floriculture farms where children work in Tamil Nadu,
according to a PANAP study. Photo credit:

Meanwhile, in a separate study
by PANAP, CGFED, and Centre for Sustainable Rural
Development entitled Schoolchildren’s
Exposure to Pesticides in Vietnam
, cypermethrin was
among the pesticides identified by teachers as commonly
sprayed in agricultural fields, which are located less than
one kilometer away from schools. The study shows that
Vietnamese schoolchildren exhibit symptoms of poisoning
whenever they are exposed to pesticides inside homes and

“To protect our children from
toxic pesticides, we are advocating for a mimimum
one-kilometer pesticide-free
buffer zone around schools
. That is an initial step. In
the long run, we must ban Highly Hazardous Pesticides that
have been proven to cause irreparable harm to children,
especially in rural communities,” said Deeppa Ravindran,
PANAP’s campaign coordinator.

“The EU
has taken a positive step with regards to cypermethrin. But
we should be aware that double standards exist, wherein
pesticides banned in their countries of origin are still
exported to the Global South. Therefore a global ban of
HHPs—which PANAP has been calling for—is the only
lasting solution to address the poisoning of children, along
with the promotion of agroecological alternatives,” she

PAN Asia Pacific
is one of five regional centres of
Pesticide Action Network, a global network dedicated to the
elimination of harm upon humans and the environment by
pesticide use. It is based in Penang,

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