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  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