Tuesday, November 29, 2011


On Friday 18 November 2011, we received an email from a resident of Welgevonden Estate  [a residential estate on the outskirts of Stellenbosch]  as follows  :-

"Hi, we live in Welgevonden Estate and for the last 2 nights have heard a farmer over the road spraying his vineyards at night. It has been quite windy and this morning we woke to find dead beetles on our front porch. Then checked the cars, full of some sticky substance. It can only be spray drift. Please can you urgently help us to fight this farmer (Blue Jay Farm). The drift falls onto the houses and not to mention the pizza restaurant 50m over the road from the farm. Let us know what we can do to take action against his indiscriminate pollution and poisoning.
Please can you post a link onto Facebook? I really belive we need wide support for this problem and having a facebook link will help create more awareness. Please let me know how I can help as I really want to help to bring the ban to Stellenbosch. We live in Welgevonden Estate and are surrounded by pesticide spraying farmers."


There are 38 comments to be found in the "additional comments" section at the end of question 3

Having been caught in spray drift, from the very same farm, as we drove past Welgevonden Estate on the R44, we knew from past experience that spray drift in this area was indeed a well documented problem.  We therefore contacted the latest complainant in order to get more information and in this regard received a copy of correspondence between the Welgevonden resident  and Sandra Jeffery of Timberlea Farming Trust.

Click here to read the email :    http://www.scribd.com/doc/74213464/Timberlea-21-Sept-2011

Sandra Jeffery had also attached a number of very impressive documents and certifications, indicating that Timberlea did indeed comply with various standards. A close inspection of the documents has revealed that they are more concerned with the "Maximum Residue Levels " [MRL's]  ie the levels of pesticide still found on the fruit itself, than the actual spraying methods used to control pests and diseases within the vineyards and orchards.

Whilst the MRL's may comply with the acceptable levels as per the various certifications, this does not mean that the products sprayed are safe, by exposure, when sprayed. Almost all fungicides and pesticides have a statutory "withholding period" which in some cases can be 120 days. This means that the crop must not be sprayed less than 120 days before being harvested as then the MRL's will be too high and thus harmful to humans. So what about the high levels during spraying, that get blown into peoples gardens and houses ? Ones gardens, lawns and other household surfaces can remain contaminated, and toxic, for some time, where children playing on the lawn for example, could come into contact with the toxic fall-out.

Most of the pesticides & fungicides used today are toxic. Many of them are known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and developmental /reproductive toxins. Children are particularly at risk by exposure.

Your average 'gifsmous' will say that the pesticides and fungicides are as poisonous as the salt in the Marmite in your toast, and the farmer's tend to believe this. They believe that if they dont spray their crops, before they get sick, then they will suffer huge damages.

We at TATIB believe in the "Precautionary Principle " and that is to rather assume that a fungicide /pesticide is unsafe until such time as it has been proven to be safe, and not the other way around.  Professor London and other international experts all agree that more than often its the "cocktail" of  fungicides/pesticides that are more toxic than single product spraying. They are also of the opinion that the inactive or "inert" ingredients are often more toxic than the active ingredients.

Products that were sprayed years ago, and were considered to be so safe for use, have now been banned or withdrawn after further tests and studies have shown that they are highly toxic and cause cancer for example. Chlorpyrifos, a household name for use in gardens, that had previously been considered so safe, was banned in SA last year, as tests proved that it was not only highly toxic but also extremely dangerous to children.  Whilst it has been banned for residential use, its still used on  the vineyards and orchards of the Western Cape.

On behalf of the residents that had contacted us, we sent a letter to Timberlea Farming Trust on 21 November 2011, a copy of which can be found here :

The above letter was also copied to : Angela Andrews, Legal Resources Centre Cape Town, Leon Du Toit & Anton Nothnagel  Legislative Inspectors, Department of Agriculture Cape Town, Marius Engelbrecht , Air Quality Officer , Cape Winelands District Municipality Stellenbosch.

Leon Du Toit :              leondt@daff.gov.za   &   leondt@nda.agric.za
Anton Nothnagel:        AntonN@nda.agric.za
Marius Engelbrecht:   mariuse@capewinelands.gov.za

The TATIB Foundation did not receive the courtesy of a response, to our email of 21 November 2011, from Timberlea Farm.  Instead we received an email from their attorneys on 28 November 2011, a copy of which can be found here :

Why have Timberlea chosen to not supply us with details as to what they have been spraying?  Looking at the number of reports made on the Welgevonden Estate FaceBook page, there was indeed spraying on the night of 18 November 2011.  Why was spraying done under cover of darkness ? Does Timberlea have something to hide ?  Why have Timberlea chosen to rather hand this matter over to their attorneys ?  What would Woolworths, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose think about all of this?

From our experience with the Riebeek-Kasteel farmer, once one is found to be in contravention of the various laws, with regards to one's spraying, one then may lose one's GlobalGap / EurepGap & Natures Choice Accreditation . 

The well documented problem of spray drift in Stellenbosch has received a lot of media attention of late.  In this regard The TATIB Foundation have held, and attended, a number of meetings in the area, with both Stellenbosch Municipality and Cape Winelands District Municipality.  

In November 2009, The Legal Resources Centre, Cape Town, sent a letter to both Municipalities as follows :


In January 2010 we hosted 2 large meetings at The Sustainability Institute , which were attended by a large number of irate residents and also Municipal and Provincial Officials.  Following these meetings, Stellenbosch Municipality held two internal meetings, the minutes of which are available here :


Despite the undertakings made by both Stellenbosch Municipality & Cape Winelands District Municipality , nothing seems to have been done to protect the residents from unlawful spray drift.

We have, after receiving notifications from farmers, compiled a list of what is sprayed on the average vineyard in the Western Cape :  

Experts at the LRC have prepared the following report on the above list :






Monday, November 21, 2011


Very informative site on "spray drift "  


Monday, October 31, 2011

Toxic Timbers Continued ......

 There has been an update to the toxic timber story by The Green Times.

Please click the link below :


Monday, October 10, 2011


And to think, that the farmer in Riebeek-Kasteel and his gifsmous-cum-purveyor of poison both stated that Roundup is as poisonous as the salt in the Marmite on one's toast, and that you could drink it!!

See more on Roundup by clicking the link below :



Over the years, The TATIB Foundation has received a large number of complaints from residents of Paarl, following their exposure to spray drift of toxic fungicides that Drakenstein Municipality has been spraying on the Oak trees that line the public streets.  If you look back through the older posts you will see how the story has developed.

We have sent many letters to Drakenstein over the years, but they have continued to spray without any regard for public safety. 
On 06 October 2010, we sent a letter to Cathy Bill of the Green Scorpions . See link below :

On 16 September 2011 at 05h25, a group of  8 cyclists who were training for a triathlon, were caught in spray drift on the corner of Market & Main Street in Paarl. There were immediate side effects of burning eyes, skin and  irritation to upper respiratory tracts, and then lung problems after 4 days.

The TATIB Foundation sent an urgent email to Drakenstein's Albert vd Merwe and also to Drakenstein's attorneys on record, in an attempt to establish exactly what was sprayed so that the victims could get the necessary medical attention as a matter of priority.  As expected, neither Drakenstein Municipality nor their attorneys responded.

TATIB investigated and it has been confirmed that Bumper/Tilt & Rubigan were sprayed.

The statutory Product Labels have the following warnings :-

 ( i )    Harmful when swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
           ( ii )   May irritate the eyes and skin.
           (iii )   Toxic to fish and wildlife.
           (iv )   Store in a cool, well ventilated place.
           (v )   Store away from food and feed.
           (vi)    Keep out of reach of children, uninformed persons and animals
           (vii)    Handle with care.
           (viii)   Poisonous when swallowed or inhaled
           (ix)    Avoid spray drift onto other crops, grazing, rivers, dams and areas not under treatment.
           (x)     Use only as directed

TATIB can now confirm that Affidavits were deposed, and charges laid at the local SAPS on 08 October 2011 !!

Further information on Bumper & Tilt, their product labels, MSDS's and toxic breakdown products can be found here :

Further information on Rubigan its product label, MSDS and toxic breakdown products can be found here :


We urge anyone who has come into contact with spray drift, with regards to the spraying of the Oak trees in Paarl  [or Stellenbosch]  to please make contact with us on :  info@tatib.co.za

Sunday, October 9, 2011


 The full story can be found in The Green Times  : 


As a result of the V&A Poisonings, The TATIB Foundation received a large number of  emails from members of the public requesting help with similar cases of exposure to pesticides.

One of the complaints was from a couple who had purchased a house in Plumstead, Cape Town. They had discovered that the floorboards of their newly purchased house were riddled with borer beetle. In this regard they had contracted Pestokill to eradicate the infestation in December 2010.   A poison called  "Timberlife  CTX 108"  was sprayed and then poured onto the floorboards.  To date, almost 1 year after the product was applied, the complainants have been unable to move back into their house, due to the fact that there is still considerable "off gassing" of toxic, volatile solvents coming from the floorboards that were treated with Timberlife CTX 108. [air sampling done inside the house has proven this]

Noseweek has just run a story  "Useless Buggers"  which can be found by clicking the link below :

The victims have also written their account of the story here  :

After falling ill, and then reading about the V&A Poisonings, the complainants contacted us for help. The first thing that we did was to access Timberlife's website so as to download the statutory Product Labels in an attempt to find out what CTX 108 was made of.

Timberlife's website  :    www.timberlife.co.za

On their "company" section Timberlife states :

" However, at the end of the day it is the customer that dictates what he wants and it is therefore necessary to satisfy his needs. Our philosophy has always been to listen to the customer and whenever, work with him rather than against him. We therefore believe that “feed-back is the food of kings”.

We were unable to find the statutory  Product Label nor the Material Safety Data sheets,

but only the CTX 108  Data Sheets . See link below :

This is where things started to become interesting !! 
From past experience, with treated timber, our research had shown, that more than often [and this has been confirmed by international laboratory studies] the inactive ingredients are more toxic than the active ingredients.  We took note, on the CTX 108 Data Sheet, that  the active ingredients had been dissolved in "aromatic solvents".  It was interesting that neither the names of the active ingredients nor the names of the actual "aromatic solvents"  had been specified on the CTX 108 Data Sheets. Surely the end user, the "customer",   has the right to know the ingredients of the product he is using or about to use so that he/she can make an informed decision with regards to the safety of a product?

Believing that "feedback is the food of kings" and that "the customer is always right " and hoping that Timberlife would bend over backwards to give us the information that we needed,   we sent Timberlife a couple of emails, in which we requested that they send us the statutory Product Labels and Material Safety Data Sheets [ as required by law] . We also asked that they give us details of not only the active ingredients, but also the inactive ingredients of Timberlife CTX 108.

They did not respond directly and instead got their attorneys to send us the Material Safety Data Sheets together with a strongly worded letter in which they not only reserved their rights but also threatened to take legal action against us. 

Our intention was never to hold Timberlife liable for the damage to the health and property of the complainants [a High Court date has already been set with regards to the damages claim being made against Pestokill the company that applied the product] but to simply get more information from them, the suppliers of the product, as we felt that they had a "duty of care" to furnish us, and the victims, with details as to the side effects and toxicity of their product so that steps could be taken to prevent any further damage to the health of the complainants, especially now that they have a 5 month old baby girl.  It was never our intention to "harm" Timberlife's business, after all our requests were submitted to them and only them, and all we were asking for was statutory information, not trade secrets!! Timberlife did not apply the CTX 108 and so cannot be blamed for the unlawful application made by Pestokill.  But as the manufacturers of the product they really should, in our opinion, have been prepared to furnish us all with the information that we had requested.

Do you, the end user, have the right to know the ingredients of a product that you have purchased ? Do you as a consumer,  have the right to do your own research so as to establish the safety of a product that you will come into close contact with on a daily basis ?

We have managed to get a copy of the statutory Product Label from the National Department of Agriculture,  which can be found at the following link : 


Take note that the product contains  :

  • Cypermethrin [synthetic pyrethroid]
  • TCMTB : 2-[thiocyanomethylthio] benzothiazole [organosulphur compound]
  • Aliphatic and aromatic petroleum solvents  [Fluidar 100 and others]
The Material Safety Data Sheets are available here : 

     It's now also come out, that CTX 108 contains Fluidar100, which in turn contains Benzene.  

    Note the highlighted warnings on the attached Product Label for Fluidar 100 :

    More on Cypermethrin , a suspected carcinogen and possible endocrine disruptor can be found here :

    More on TCMTB, a possible carcinogen,  can be found here  :

    More on Benzene, a known carcinogen & reproductive / developmental toxin, and aliphatic / aromatic solvents can be found here :

    Following further tests, on the soil in and around the house and below the timber floors, the risk manager for Wasteman Holdings, has we have been told,  indicated that the degree of contamination was very serious indeed and may entail wider environmental impacts. 

    It has recently been confirmed that the National Department of Agriculture has laid charges.

    Saturday, August 27, 2011


    TATIB has received news that the National Department of Agriculture [NDA] has "opened a case"  against the V&A and that NDA officials are in consultation with The Director of Public Prosecutions. It has also been confirmed that a case has also been opened with the National Department of Health.

    The TATIB Foundation sent an email to  Emma King of  Corporate Image asking for answers to our questions.  Needless to say, she has not responded.

    Click here  :  

    Saturday, August 20, 2011


    The exposure to Chlorpyrifos, a deadly organophosphate poison, of 08 August 2011 drew a lot of media attention   [ see earlier post  " Banned Organophosphate toxin sprayed at V&A Waterfront Cape Town ]

    The V&A employed the services of  Corporate Image, a public affairs company with a particular focus on corporate communications, media liaison, crisis communication and issues management.
    In other words the V&A has paid someone else to put out the fires and do a quick PR job!!

    Two recent newspaper articles have been published as follows :



    The V&A has now criticised patrons for making “unfounded” claims of illness ??  
     Just who do they think they are kidding ?

    If you read through the previous post and have a look at the Product Labels, you will very quickly see just how toxic chlorpyrifos is. Its for this reason that its been banned for all use in South Africa besides Agricultural use, as studies have shown that  it is not only an endocrine disruptor and nerve toxin, but also leads to Autism & ADD  in children!!  And the V&A states that  "there is no significant evidence to show any lasting effects from short-term exposure to the pesticide "  ??    We would say that Autism & ADD are pretty long term side effects of exposure to chlorpyrifos !!  

    Why then is exposure to chlorpyrifos certifiable in South Africa - which means that if one is exposed to it, ones doctor has to notify the National Department of Health ?

    you will see a lot of information with regards the Dept Of Health and how they reacted to the poisonings at the Chameleons Montessori School in Durbanville.

    We spoke with Gerrit Van Wyk of the Dept of Health, and he admitted that they [Dept of Health] are understaffed and simply dont have enough resources to run any studies.

    With regards to Chameleons Montessori, Mr Van Wyk stated that the Toxicology Dept at Tygerberg had stated that there is no long term effects of exposure to pesticides. When questioned further, he stated that there is no information & evidence available in SA of what exposure to these chemicals may cause. Tygerberg has since confirmed this. And so the statement can easily be mis-interpreted.  The bottom line is that there is just not enough evidence and so its best to err on the side of caution.

    Professor Leslie London has stated that there is little data available on many of the pesticides relating to various health issues. He states that the absence of evidence is not evidence that there is no evidence, merely that it's not been investigated yet.  He also states that there is lack of human resources in Gov Depts and that the best toxicologists probably work for the chemical manufacturers. He goes on to say that organophosphates can actually mimic flue if there is a low exposure and that it can present like headaches, dizziness and upper respiratory tract symptoms.

    Prof London, in an article a few years back stated   "  the government has failed to control dangerous spraying.What's going on in Riebeek Kasteel is a very good example of three or four government departments who can't co-ordinate and sort out the problem."

    How dare the V&A, via its appointed PR company, state that the claims made by the victims are
    "unfounded" ??  

    People were exposed to Chlorpyrifos and they became ill. They certainly are not "faking" it!!

    The V&A further states that "there is no significant evidence to show any lasting ill-effects from short-term exposure to the pesticide "  We would love them to present proof as to where they got this information, as there are many international studies that have been done that prove, beyond all doubt, that even a once off exposure to chlorpyrifos can have serious long term health effects.  The V&A are starting to sound very much like Gerrit Van Wyk of the Dept of Health !!

    Chlorpyrifos may very well be quickly eliminated by the body, but there are just no local studies in South Africa as to long term health effects further down the line and this is backed up by Professor Leslie London who is the authority, in South Africa, on exposure to pesticides.

    From information that TATIB has received from the victims [those who fell ill after being sprayed] , they have not received calls from  Environmental Health / Dept of Health & Dept of Agriculture. In other words no Governmental officials have as yet taken a written complaint from the victims. TATIB has information that the victims have deposed Affidavits and lodged same with the Police and that they also have been examined by their GP's and that the GP's have sent off the paperwork to the Dept of Health - not that there is any cure for exposure to Chlorpyrifos. All that can be done, in South Africa, is to test for lowered cholinesterase levels and even this is not accurate as one would first have to establish a base line "before" exposure.

    In the past, The TATIB Foundation has laid many a complaint with the Dept of Agriculture [NDA] and we know that they can take several months, if not longer, to gather all the information, interview the victims, get the affidavits deposed and to then investigate further.  As matters stand, it been less than 2 weeks since the poisonings and the Dept of Agriculture could not have completed its investigations in such a short time period, and so the statement made by the V&A along the lines of   " The Dept of Agriculture had raised no concerns over the incident"  is dubious to say the least.  

    Professor Verdoorn, spokesperson for AVCASA has made reference that they [V&A ] have used a banned substance and that they should be penalised. And Verdoorn is someone who appears to be "pro pesticide" as he is spokesperson for AVCASA and has had a lot to say about how beneficial pesticides are.

    Yet the V&A alleges that the NDA has no concerns over the fact that they sprayed a banned organophosphate poison against Product Label and Act 36 of 1947? Just who are they kidding ?? Do they honestly believe that the NDA does not mind that they sprayed a banned pesticide and that they broke the law ??  And they expect us to believe this ?

    The SA Pest Control Association and  Rentokill have termed the incident "wholly avoidable"  furthermore stating that "using a banned pesticide in a crowded environment is potentially disastrous" .

    Chlorpyrifos was banned  for all use, except agricultural use, in May 2010. The Minister of Agriculture has banned it for a very good reason - and that is because it is highly toxic.  We wonder what the Minister of Agriculture would think of the allegations made by the V&A that the Dept of Agriculture has raised no concerns over the incident ?

    Conchem-Saligna, the company who supplied the toxic pesticide to the V&A has stated that the V&A will dispose of their own chlorpyrifos.  Conchem-Saligna BEE  further states that they [Conchem]  removed all chlorpyrifos containing products from their premises BEFORE  the date of the ban and that they have NEVER sold any one again.   Yet they neglected to inform those to whom they had sold the product, that it had subsequently been banned ?  Kobus Conradie of Conchem-Saligna BEE has stated that both he and his son, did the AVCASA course many years ago. He also sent us a "Certificate"  showing that he did the AVCASA course in 1996.  That was a long time ago and so many more chemicals have been banned since then. Perhaps its time for a "refresher" course. Also Act 36 of 1947 is very old and the Minister has identified the shortcomings of the Act and  recently released the new "Pesticide Management Policy"

    This is where we need to have a "cradle to grave" clause added to Act 36 of 1947, so that both the manufacturers and suppliers will be held accountable to ensure that banned and obsolete pesticides are recalled and then disposed of in the correct manner.


    The V&A have stated that they have arranged for the product's removal and lawful disposal  [we hope safe disposal] from their premises.  As the V&A have been using this product since 2009, all over the V&A, just how do they propose to "de-contaminate" & "neutralise"   all the public areas ?  What proof do we have that they have even done this ?  Have any members of the public seen this happening ? Do they even know where their uninformed worker even sprayed the product ?

    WHERE IS THE PROOF ??  That's our challenge to you  V&A Waterfront !!!!

    You have presented no proof that chlorpyrifos is not toxic and that short term exposure to it poses no long term or serious health threats.

    You have presented no proof that in fact the NDA and Dept of Health have even investigated the matter.   You have attempted to discredit the victims by stating that they have lied and exaggerated.  You have retained the services of a "crisis management " PR company to tick all the boxes and say all the right things .  Do you really think that you can pull the wool over the eyes of your valued patrons ?

    If you truly believe that being sprayed , once off, with Pyrinex 480EC wont be damaging to YOUR health, well then put your money where your mouth is.  We will arrange for you, and your PR lady, to be sprayed with a "diluted"  mixture of the pesticide.



    On 08 August, several people who were having lunch at the Mug & Bean restaurant  V&A Waterfront Cape Town, were sprayed with Pyrinex 480 EC a pesticide containing a highly toxic, banned organophosphate named Chlorpyrifos.




    Within days, and as more victims fell ill, The TATIB Foundation started receiving requests for help.

    One of the victims managed to take a couple of  photos of the 5 litre plastic container containing the poison and of the knapsack sprayer, and to email these to the TATIB Foundation on 11 August 2011.

    When we discovered that Pyrinex 480EC contained Chlorpyrifos we immediately phoned the V&A and then sent them an email  attached herewith :

    We received a reply from Colin Devenish, of the V&A as follows :

    We then sent an email to Makhteshim-Agan SA, the manufacturer of the poison as follows:

    Makhteshim have still not responded to this email, despite our making an international phone call to them as a result of which they undertook to send us the information that we requested. We are still waiting!!

    We contacted a number of suppliers of the product in order to get them to confirm when the batch in question was manufactured, as the V&A were insisting that they purchased the pesticide in September 2009 and as such did not know that it had been banned. One one of the suppliers came back to us with the confirmation that the top line of numbers  2011 06 07 is the date of manufacture and the bottom row of numbers is the batch number.  We assume therefore, based on the information that we have been given, and due to the fact that Makhteshim have not bothered to respond to us, that the batch in question was made in 2011 and not 2009.

    On 12 August 2011, we sent a detailed email back to Colin Devenish of the V&A Waterfront in which we also attached the Product Labels and other statutory documents.  We have attached a copy of this email via the link below  [excuse the formatting as it has been converted from email to pdf ]

    The various attachments to this email can be found here :


    It is clearly evident, if you read through the documents above, that Chlorpyrifos is a highly toxic organophosphate poison.  The warnings on the Product Labels make clear reference to the toxicity and also the side effects

    We reported this incident to the National Department of Agriculture, giving them details of the complainants and received an email back from them on 17 August 2011, confirming that they are investigating the matter.
    From information relayed to us by a number of  victims, the National Department of Agriculture has not yet contacted them, as at 21 August 2011,  in order to take official statements.  In past exposures to agricultural toxins, the National Dept of Agriculture has taken several weeks , if not months, to fully investigate a complaint and their modus operandi has been to always insist that the complainants submit signed and stamped Affidavits, clearly detailing what happened.   

    A copy of the email received from the NDA can be found here :


    We have also recommended that the complainants/victims depose Affidavits at their nearest police station and furthermore than they get their doctors to fill out the necessary forms - as exposure to organophosphates is certifiable under the Health Act and a copy would need to be sent, by the examining doctor, to the National Dept of Health.  From the information relayed to us, we understand that this has been done.

    From our past experience,  in similar matters, it can take several months for the National Dept of Health to acknowledge receipt of the relevant paperwork, and then several more months for both them and the NDA to in fact commence with an investigation. Both departments have very limited resources and do not, for example have sufficient funding to even run case studies on the toxicity of chlorpyrifos. This has been mentioned previously on this blogspot with links to newspaper articles in which Prof Verdoorn, amongst others, talks more about this.  If you also go and read up on www.galileogroup.blogspot.com  you will come across a discussion on the Dept of Health and how they reacted to the poisonings at the Chameleons Montessori School and how they admitted that they simply did not have enough local information as to the toxicity and case studies - face it - South Africa is a 3rd World Country and we are so very far behind in so many ways.

    So what is the way forward through all of this ?  Is it going to be the consumer who will, at the end of the day, force things to change ?

    Friday, August 19, 2011




    In October 2010 we posted a comment about Chameleons Montessori, a private school located on Nitida Wine Farm in Durbanville.

    The TATIB Foundation had received reports from parents whose children had become ill, following their alleged exposure to the agricultural chemicals  [insecticides, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides] that were sprayed onto the vineyards adjacent to the school.  We had also received reports from a teacher alleging that she too had fallen ill.   Our investigations revealed that there certainly was spray drift and in this regard we managed to obtain a list, from the farmer, of what had been sprayed on the adjacent vineyards and the farm as a whole.

    A group of parents got together and formed  the Galileo Group:

    The full expose can be found here.

    The schools owners & management continued to deny the allegations as is clearly evident if you read through the link above.  In order to put out the fires, the school approached Prof Leslie London & Dr Andrea Rother of UCT and got them to run a series of tests at the school in March 2011, which analysed the air, soil and grass clippings from around the school.

    The summary report can be found below as follows :-


    Introduction: Pesticides are chemicals that are used to protect crops against harmful pests. Pesticide drift is dependent on the wind and temperature conditions, distance from the spraying areas, the method of spraying and the volatility of the chemical sprayed. Potential health risks arising from exposure to pesticides in a school environment through pesticide drift is a concern facing children and employees at schools in rural farming locations worldwide. Such concerns about pesticide drift from neighboring vineyards affecting children attending school were raised by parents at the Chameleons School, situated in a rural farming district on the edge of an urban suburb of Cape Town, Western Cape in February 2010. The School consists of a Primary school, which is situated on a Farm (called Farm A for the report) adjacent to its vineyards, and a pre-school which is situated right on the border of another farm’s vineyard (called Farm B for this report).
    Design: The study was planned as a before-after design, measuring levels of environmental exposure before, during and after pesticide application activities on the neighbouring farms. The hypothesis tested was that spraying on farm B would drift onto the Pre-school and that spraying on Farm A would drift onto the Primary school. Although a third phase was planned to sample after the spraying season, the findings from the first two phases appear sufficient to answer the study questions about spray drift without requiring a third follow up.
    Methods: Three types of pesticide samples, namely air, dust and grass, were collected at the two Chameleons Montessori Schools (preschool and primary school) located on farm A. The sample collection was done at baseline before spraying was said to have started on the farms and then repeated during spraying in two separate samples. Samples were collected in air, dust and grass cuttings. The samples were tested for pesticides by an accredited laboratory using a multi-residue methods that tests for 126 different pesticides. Of these 126 pesticides, 7 were pesticides reported as applied on farms neighbouring the school. There were a further 7 pesticides reported as applied on the farm that could not be measured by the laboratory. These latter agents were pesticides of low acute toxicity and not noted in the literature as pesticide of concern.
    1. The presence of pesticides
    The study found the presence of pesticide residues in air, dust and grass samples both before spraying was reported to have started (baseline period) on farms and during the spraying period at both schools. The patterns of detection were broadly consistent with the use patterns reported on both farms A and B, with the timing of reported applications and with climatic conditions observed and reported in the area at the time of data collection. In particular, the findings of Boscalid (in air samples), Brompropylate (in dust samples), Dimethomorph (in dust samples) and penconazole (in air and in grass samples) were all consistent by timing and location with evidence of spray drift. These findings suggest there is drift taking place from neighbouring farms for these pesticides.
    The presence of Kresoxim-methyl could not be directly explained by spray on neighbouring farms but followed a pattern of being absent at baseline and being present in dust and air samples during the spray season. Kresoxim-methyl is registered for use on vineyards and may have drifted onto the School from farms other than those on the school boundaries.
    Endosulfan was detected in air and grass samples, though no pattern of timing consistent with a date of application was clear and, although it was initially on the spray list to be applied for farm B, both farms indicated they did not apply it. However, given its persistence and it use solely as an agricultural chemical, it is very likely to arise from agricultural application on farms in the area, even if not from neighbouring farms. These findings involving endosulfan and Kresoxim-methyl may signal a wider problem of environmental pesticide drift in the entire farming areas, not specific to the Chameleons site, which may warrant separate investigation.
    A further set of pesticides detected both during the non-spraying baseline and the spraying period (chlorpyrifos, cypermethrin, permethrin and pyriproxyfen) were agents that probably were present as a result of non-agricultural applications for household, veterinary or garden purposes. There was no temporal or geographical patterning consistent with external application. These findings suggest these pesticides were present as a result of household pesticide application.
    The Quality Assurance measurements suggest that the laboratory did not over-identify pesticides, and achieved adequate precision in its estimates of concentrations.
    2. The concentrations of pesticides detected and health implications
    The concentrations of pesticides found in this study were generally low in comparison to similar studies overseas. There are almost no standards available globally for permissible exposures to the pesticides detected in this study in grass, dust and air, the only exception being the USEPA standard for endosulfan in air. The levels in this study were well below that EPA standard for endosulfan. Concentrations of chlorpyrifos, endosulfan, cypermethrin and permethrin detected in the schools were generally lower, or of the same order of magnitude as samples in control sites from other studies, or comparable to ambient concentrations found in a Canadian study of environmental air sampling. The control site at UCT of dust in offices also demonstrated levels of chlorpyrifos, cypermenthrin and permethrin higher than those detected in the study at the schools. In no cases were lower concentrations reported in comparable studies.
    Although not directly comparable, Maximum Residue Levels for pesticides on grapes permitted by the Department of Health were higher than concentrations found in grass samples at both schools. It is therefore reasonable to infer that the pesticide concentrations detected in grass were low. Nonetheless, given the lack of health based-standards for all but endosulfan, and consistent with the precautionary principle, it would be prudent to take action to reduce exposures as far as possible.
    Conclusions: Firstly, the study has suggested that there is evidence for spray drift into the school, as well as potential non-agricultural routes for exposure (use of household pesticides and ornamental or veterinary pesticides). Secondly, the concentrations detected in air, dust and grass are low relative to studies published in other countries and to analogous benchmarks. Thirdly, the detection of pesticides that were not applied on neighbouring farms but which are in use in agricultural production in the area, may signify a broader problem of environmental pesticide drift which requires wider investigation by the relevant authorities. The data are sufficient convincing to suggest that there is no need for a third phase of sampling and that resources could be better spent on monitoring interventions to reduce exposure.
    There are possible ways to reduce pesticide drift and its consequences which include use of application methods with less potential for drift, restriction of applications when climatic conditions facilitate drift, establishing barriers on the school perimeter, administrative controls to reduce spraying times or outdoor activity during spraying, targeted housekeeping measures to clear pesticides in dust, avoiding use of domestic pest control agents containing pesticides of concern and education of staff and contractors. In the long-term, changes to the form of agricultural production, including reduced use of pesticides, use of Integrated Pest Managmeent (IPM) and movement to organic agriculture will reduce the risk of drift. We also recommend the school introduce regular monitoring to track the effectiveness of containment and mitigation measures that are implemented. We also propose that the authorities investigate the broader problem of pollution from spray drift affecting the area generally, given evidence suggesting that pesticides were drifting into the school from farms other than those adjacent to the school.

    ENDOSULFAN is a persistant organic pollutant [endochlorine] , it is acutely toxic and also an endocrine disruptor.
    BANNED worldwide inc in South Africa.


    CHLORPYRIFOS is a toxic organophosphate poison.
    BANNED for use in houses, parks and schools in South Africa from May 2010. In other words there should not be residues in and around the school insofar household & garden purposes are concerned as its been banned for such use. It is however not banned for Agricultural use. More than likely Nitida has been using chrlorpyrifos. Most wine / grape farmers do use it - so I dont see why Nitida has not used it.


    KRESOXIM METHYL is a known carcinogen


    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Roundup Birth Defects: Regulators Knew World's Best-Selling Herbicide Causes Problems


    Industry regulators have known for years that Roundup, the world's best-selling herbicide produced by U.S. company Monsanto, causes birth defects, according to a new report released Tuesday.
    The report, "Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?" found regulators knew as long ago as 1980 that glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, can cause birth defects in laboratory animals.
    But despite such warnings, and although the European Commission has known that glyphosate causes malformations since at least 2002, the information was not made public.

    It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders.

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    NIOSH Study Confirms Pesticide Drift Hazards Posed by Conventional Agriculture

    It is time for people [and this one if for you Prof Gerhard Verdoorn!!]   in the industry to realize the effect of pesticide drift on human health, as proven in this study. (Symptoms aren't always the side effects of medicine and symptoms of drug abuse as claimed by the industry!)

    Page 14 of "The Study " : "... data suggest that residents in agriculture-intensive regions have a 69 times higher risk of pesticide  poisoning from drift exposure compared to other regions".

    (Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2011) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and state agency partners finds that pesticide drift from conventional, chemical-intensive farming has poisoned thousands of farmworkers and rural residents in recent years. According to the authors, agricultural workers and residents in agricultural regions were found to have the highest rate of pesticide poisoning from drift exposure, and soil fumigations were a major hazard causing large drift incidents. 

    The study, “Acute Pesticide Illnesses Associated with Off-Target Pesticide Drift from Agricultural Applications — 11 States, 1998–2006,” was published June 6, 2011 in the online edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
    Using data from NIOSH’s Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (SENSOR) - Pesticides Program and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the study identifies 2,945 cases of pesticide poisoning associated with agricultural pesticide drift in 11 states. While the study focuses on top agriculture producing states, it provides only a snapshot of the poisoning of farmworkers and other rural residents nationally and around the world. Advocates also point out that pesticide poisoning is often underreported by farmworkers. According to the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, only one percent of California pesticide illness or injury is reported. 

    Of the cases attributed to pesticide drift examined in this study, 47% had exposures at work and 14% were children (<15 years). Most experienced “low severity” illness. The overall incidence (in million person-years) is 114.3 for agricultural workers, 0.79 for other workers, 1.56 for non-occupational cases, and 42.2 for residents in five agriculture-intensive counties in California. Soil applications with fumigants are responsible for the largest proportion (45%) of cases. Aerial applications account for 24% of cases. Study findings show that the risk of illness resulting from drift exposure is largely borne by agricultural workers, and the incidence (114.3/million worker-years) was 145 times greater than that for all other workers.
    While this study focuses only on acute poisoning due to pesticide drift, an increasing number of studies are linking low level agricultural pesticide exposure to chronic health impacts. Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database features dozens of studies linking common diseases, from asthma and autism to Parkinson’s disease and cancer, to pesticide drift and other agricultural exposures. 

    Pesticide spray drift is typically the result of small spray droplets being carried off-site by air movement. The main weather factors that cause drift are wind, humidity and temperature changes. Aside from poisoning people and animals, drift can injure foliage, shoots, flowers and fruits resulting in reduced yields, economic loss and illegal residues on exposed crops.
    Beyond Pesticides has long advocated that people support a healthy work environment for farmworkers by choosing organic food and supporting the work of farmworker advocacy organizations. For more information going organic for farmworkers and rural residents, as well as for the your family’s health and the environment, see Beyond Pesticides’ Organic Food: Eating with a Conscience web guide.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011


    A must see for everyone who wants to protect themselves and their children against toxic chemicals.
    What did the chemical industry do to us, our children, our health and the environment.
    Click on the following link and listen:


    Wednesday, May 11, 2011


    Following the large number of complaints received from the residents of Stellenbosch & Franschhoek, The Legal Resources Centre, on behalf of the TATIB Foundation, sent a letter to Stellenbosch Municipality on 30 November 2009 in which the problems of spray drift, of agricultural chemicals, were clearly documented.
    A copy of the letter is to be found here :

    On 27 January 2010, The TATIB Foundation, together with a large number of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek & Paarl residents, met with representatives of Stellenbosch Municipality, Cape Winelands District Municipality, Provincial Administration Western Cape & the National Department of Agriculture. Following this meeting , Stellenbosch Municipality held two internal meetings on 12 May & 25 May 2010 respectively.
    The links to the official minutes of these meetings are to be found here :

    On 24 January 2011, The TATIB Foundation met with various representatives of Stellenbosch Municipality, at their offices in Stellenbosch. The press were evicted from this meeting.
    The official minutes of the meeting can be found here :

    On 11 February 2011, our attorneys, under The Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) sent a letter of request (together with a cheque payment as prescribed by law) to Stellenbosch Municipality, in which we requested further information and answers to several questions. Under Section 26 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000, Stellenbosch Municipality had 30 days to furnish TATIB with the requested information.
    The PAIA application documents can be found here :

    On 18 March 2011, Keith Ford, Information Officer for Stellenbosch Municipality notified us of their intention to extend the time period by another 30 days.
    The notice of this is to be found here :

    On 14 April 2011, Keith Ford of Stellenbosch Municipality, furnished our attorneys with their response to our application.
    The documentation is to be found here :-

    If you read through the documentation, and our comments below, you will see that Stellenbosch Municipality have not only wasted our time, and "strung us along" but they also appear to have not been honest with us and may also have attempted to cover up their lack of commitment to this well documented problem. Their "mediocre" response leaves a lot to be desired and makes us wonder why they took more than 60 days to furnish us with answers to our questions. As matters now stand, they have actually not bothered to provide us with the answers that we had requested in the first place, as according to them, they have no records.


    With regards to Stellenbosch Municipality's response of 14 April 2010, The TATIB Foundation wishes to comment as follows :-

    Cullinan & Associates, in their PAIA letter of 09 February 2011, Annexure A, requested the following :-

    1(a) Please provide us with with an indication of whether or not the matter was held in abeyance and was to
    be resubmitted at the next meeting of the Mayoral Committee, was indeed resubmitted at the next Mayoral Committee meeting and what the outcome was of that meeting.
    1(b) Please provide us with a copy of the minutes of that meeting. Please also provide us with copies of the "regular progress" reports referred to under bullet point 2 above (see page 12 of minutes dated 12 May 2010) 

    Stellenbosch Municpality has answered 1a & 1b as follows : " Record does not exist"

    TATIB finds this answer to be unacceptable. If you refer to Stellenbosch's Minutes of 12 May 2010, point (a) ,(b) & (c) on page 12 and the Minutes of the meeting of 25 May 2010 page 40-42, they make mention that not only was the initiative going to be endorsed in terms of the National AirQuality Act, but also that the costs for implementation would be investigated and that the administration would submit regular progress reports to the Council, the matter being held in abeyance and re-submitted at the next meeting of the Council.We find it strange therefore, that Keith Ford has stated that the requested record does not exist. Looks like a cover up does it not ?

    2.1 Please provide us with details of the Municipality's Air Quality Officer ?
    2.2 Please provide us with details and steps taken to prepare Stellenbosch Municipality's air quality management plan? Details of the person or consultancy appointed to complete the plan?The terms of reference used or provided to the person appointed to do the plan?Whether the Administration investigated the ancillary costs associated with the implementation of the project as required by the Mayoral Committee meeting (continued on 26 May 2010 at 42) ?Whether it was submitted to Council for finalization, as well as a copy of that document ? 

    Stellenbosch Municipality has answered 2.1 & 2.2 as follows : " Record does not exist" 

    TATIB finds this answer to be unacceptable. If you refer to Stellenbosch's Minutes of 12 May & 25 May 2010 respectively, you will see that specific reference is made to the fact that Jonathan May is a qualified environmental officer and that Gondwana Environmental Solutions be contacted to complete the draft of the Air Quality Management Plan for Stellenbosch Municipality and that consultancy fees be made available for investigation of the allegations according to the already approved budget.
    We find it strange therefore that Keith Ford has no record of Jonathan May, despite the fact that an undertaking was made to not only investigate the allegations made by TATIB and numerous residents, but to also appoint Gondwana Environmental Solutions to complete the draft Air Quality Management Plan, according to a budget that had already been approved.
    Advocate Alice Wilton, Law Enforcement, Stellenbosch Municipality, on page 33 of the minutes of the meeting of 24 Jan 2011 stated , in response to a question about the draft Air Quality Management plan stated, and I quote, " We have got a provisional quotation from the company (Gondwana Environmental Solutions? ) doing the investigation for us of approximately R300 000.” , " so they started the work and we .."

    Brian Davidson, on page 32 & 33 of the minutes of 24 January 2011, in response to a question " Can we get a copy of the quote of R300 000.00?" ,stated and quote " No, No, No, No, No. Sorry that is an internal administrative document. I really do not see what the need of that requirement is in terms of …. We are getting quotes for stuff, you know, that is our business. Please you are going way beyond.” “….We already indicated that we got a quote with an estimate, but it will cost in the region of R300000, why do you need the quote?"

    Keith Ford is of the opinion that no such record exists. In other words Stellebosch Municipality have no record of ever approaching Gondwana Environmental Solutions, nor any other consultancy, to prepare Stellenbosch Municipality's air quality management plan. Yet Alice Wilton (Law Enforcement) and Basil Davidson (Director Planning & Development) both stated, at the meeting of 24 January 2011 that a quotation
    R300 000.00 had been received for this. Who is telling the truth here and who is not ? Why has Davidson refused to furnish us with a copy of the alleged quotation ? Could it be that no such quotation even exists and that no consultants were in fact ever requested to do the study ?

    In other words, all the undertakings made, within the minutes of the meetings of 12 & 15 May 20101 never materialised, which in effect is a clear indication that Stellenbosch Municipality has not only wasted our time, but has ignored the complaints and requests made by not only The TATIB Foundation, but also by a large number of irate residents, students,  parents of scholars, medical practitioners and environmental attorneys.

    Possibly Stellenbosch Municipality has been so busy investigating and or attempting to possibly hide and conceal, all the  alleged corruption within its walls, that it has simply swept the pesticide issue under the mat ? We leave it up to the readers to form their own opinion in this regard.

    2.3 Please provide us with the list of agricultural chemicals, pesticides and fungicides that are being sprayed by farmers and the Municipality in and adjacent to the residential areas ?
    2.4 Please also provide us with a list of agricultural chemicals, pesticides and fungicides that were being sprayed previously and also the products that are now being sprayed on the oak trees as well as the reasons as to when the oak trees are sprayed? 

    Stellenbosch Municipality answered 2.3 & 2.4 as follows : " Record does not exist " " NA" 

    TATIB finds this answer to be totally unacceptable. Portia Bolton, of Stellenbosch Municipality, on pages23- 25 of the minutes of 24 January 2011 is aware of what was sprayed previously and she also admits that she is aware of the toxicity of Bumper, Tilt & Rubigan. TATIB has information from the suppliers of these fungicides, that Stellenbosch Municipality did indeed use the products. There is also an admission that they now only
    use some kind of foliar feed. Why the cover up ? How can Keith Ford honestly have no record of what was sprayed and what is sprayed ?

    2.5 What steps were taken to ensure that this notice is given of the intention to spray any agricultural chemical, pesticide or fungicide adjacent to human settlements or schools prior to the application?
    What steps were taken if the wind is blowing in the direction of residential areas to ensure that any planned spraying is delayed until the wind changes direction or there is no longer a danger that chemicals could be blown into residential areas ? What steps were taken by the Municipality to foster the use of less toxic agricultural chemicals, pesticides or fungicides in its area of jurisdiction? What steps were taken to review current bylaws to ensure the prevention of nuisances caused by pesticide drift and to comply with the Air Quality Act? 

    Stellenbosch Municipality answered 2.5 as follows: " N/A" " Record does not exist" 

    TATIB finds the answers to these questions to be totally unacceptable. Stellenbosch Municipality is the end user when it comes to the products that it sprays onto the Oak trees, It is also the end user when it comes to the herbicides that it uses to control and or eradicate weeds found on pavements and other public places. By law, it is required to notify all inhabitants, of the impending spraying by providing further details,  and to issue the necessary warnings. Possibly Stellenbosch Municipality consider themselves to be above the law and do not view unlawful spray drift, of toxic agricultural chemicals, into its residential areas as a serious enough issue to take action?

    The TATIB Foundation has all along maintained that Stellenbosch Municipality may have something to hide. They threw the journalists out of the meeting of 24 January 2011 as they did not want this matter to be made public. They have refused to furnish us with their official minutes of the meeting of the 24th and instead made it our responsibility to submit the minutes of OUR meeting that THEY assumed chairmanship of. Fortunately we have an audio recording of the meeting and so we have been able to submit accurate minutes in this regard.

    Whilst the bureaucrats at Stellenbosch Municipality "beat about the bush" in an attempt to cover up not only the allegations regarding their alleged mis-management and supposed corruption, the children, students and residents of Stellenbosch & Franschhoek continue to be exposed to a deadly cocktail of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. One would have thought, that with the upcoming Municipal elections, they would have realised how important the health of their residents is, but alas it appears that "political in-fighting" has taken center stage.