Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stop endosulfan lobby’s effort to block global ban

 A known killer and toxic to the environment, the pesticide Endosulfan remains a serious health hazard. 

Despite being banned in 62 countries, its continued production and use continues to poison and people and environments as a number of countries, led by India, stand in the way of a global ban. A new report to be released by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) details the environmental and human impacts of one of the world’s most dangerous and pervasive pesticides, highlighting why it should be banned globally.

Next month in Geneva, the global community will decide whether to ban the dangerous neurotoxic pesticide, endosulfan.  

It has been widely used in South Africa,  in small towns, like Riebeek-Kasteel , Stellenbosch,  Franschhoek, that are nestled amongst the vineyards & orchards.

Read more about Endosulfan   :

Or download the PDF from  :

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  1. So the endosulfan lobby has paid farmers to fight against the ban. Right?

  2. Roshi, whilst we have heard such rumors, we have not yet been able to confirm them.

    However what we can confirm is that Endosulfan has been banned in many countries, and the manufacturers then look at supplying 3rd world countries where the ban has not yet taken effect.

    We can confirm that it was widely used in South Africa recently, in the vineyards of the Western Cape.

    We have also heard that some years ago a few people died after eating bread that had been contaminated with Endosulfan (made by a well known South African bakery ), when the wheat had come into contact with the product when it was shipped in railway tankers.

    It is a deadly pesticide and its about time that it was banned world wide and that includes in South Africa.

  3. Tatib, Please share some sources of the the South African bakery case you mentioned above. As far as I know about India which is one of the largest users of this product has not seen any problems in the past 35 years apart from a secluded part of Kerala. The Farmers have recently woke up to raise their concern about the ban on endosulfan as they realise the importance of the product and see a concerted activity involved in banning this product.

  4. Hi Roshi

    The story below has come from someone who worked for the bakery / flour producer concerned. We have removed their name and also the name of the producer :

    1978:  The Endosulphan Story.  And what a story it was at that time. 

    It all started with brown bread flour from the **** Mill in Durban being transported by rail up the North Coast to Richard’s Bay, in a train car meant for food stuffs.  In those days, flour was packed in bags and whilst a limited amount was delivered by road transport, most of it was delivered by rail.
    Unbeknown to *** the rail car had been used to carry cut-worm bait from Johannesburg to Reitz in the Free State.  During the journey, some of the cut-worm bait leaked out of the containers onto the floor of the rail truck.  The railway staff was aware of the leak but did not clean the truck properly in terms of their own regulations, after off-loading the poison at Reitz.  From Reitz the truck was used to transport wool to Durban and then this same truck was sent to Durban Mill to be loaded with flour, to be sent to Richard’s Bay Bakery.  It rained during the time of the transport to Richard’s Bay and rainwater leaked into the truck and activated the poison that was still on the floor of the truck.  That poison was then absorbed into the flour bags which came into contact with it.  That flour was then used to manufacture brown bread and obviously the bakery staff was totally unaware of the contamination until two labourers in the Richard’s Bay harbour area had died after eating brown bread.

  5. Continued ....

    At that time *** was responsible for all of the 13 **** bakeries in KZN and as you can well imagine, the incident shocked and horrified the company and all concerned.  At that stage no one knew for certain what had caused the death of the two men but it seemed that the common denominator was that they had both eaten bread at lunchtime.  I can remember reading the newspaper headlines at the time (and before all facts were before the court and tried) with the sensational words, “Killer Bread”.  I can remember too questioning a reporter who had come to the **** office in Greytown KZN as to how they could insinuate such a thing before the true facts of the case had been established.  The reporters response to me was, “That is what sells newspapers!”
    At that stage it also hadn’t been established that the bread was the source or the cause of the problem, but *** suspected that it might have been because of various factors.  He informed the Zulu radio station and East Coast Radio, the Media and Police and immediately sent out vehicles to recall all of the bread produced that day at Richard’s Bay.  *** (as ***** representative) also asked the South African Railways  and Harbours to give him the most recent history of what products had been transported in the rail car in question.  This they refused to do.  In the meantime the doctors at Richard’s Bay Hospital who were treating the people did not know what poison they were dealing with so they did not know what treatment to prescribe.  The more**** and***** insisted that the South African Railways divulge the information – the more they refused to do so.  In the meantime *** and **** had sent samples of the flour to an independent laboratory in Durban for analysis.  The laboratory established that there was some foreign matter in the flour, but could not say what it was.
    *** contacted a friend who held a senior position at SAR & H and asked him if he could help in any way with information.  Within an hour, the friend came back to *** and just said one word, “THIODAN” and left it at that.  **** called the laboratory immediately and said, “If I say the word, ‘Thiodan’, does it mean anything to you?”  The gentleman from the laboratory said that it definitely mean something.  He immediately tested the flour and established that there was Thiodan (Endosulphan) in the flour!

  6. Continued ....

    An interesting “side issue” here is the fact that whilst the flour was dry one couldn’t detect that there was any foreign matter in the flour.  But as soon as water was added to it, it gave off a very strong odour.  This was essentially discovered because people had been putting their hands into the flour to test it and feel it and smell to try and establish if the flour was contaminated in any way – but couldn’t detect anything.  BUT it was only when they washed their hands they could detect a strong chemical smell.  Apparently 1mg of poison (Thiodan/Endosulphan) was enough to kill an adult!
    A year later the whole issue ended up in court (it had long disappeared from the newspapers). The court found that SAR&H had been negligent!!! …