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.


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