BANGKOK – Thailand’s Pharmacy Council has asked the national committee on hazardous substances to ban two herbicides, paraquat and glyphosate, and the pesticide chlorpyrifos before year’s end in the interests of public safety.
In a statement released on Wednesday, council president Assoc Prof Jiraporn Limpananont said a ban would be in line with the internationally recognized precautionary principle on the control of hazardous substances, to protect farmers and consumers, and the principle of ensuring sustainable agricultural resources.
She said the three chemicals were extremely poisonous. A few teaspoons of paraquat were lethal. Researchers had found paraquat contamination in the blood of pregnant women, umbilical cords, meconium (a newborn’s faeces), water, plants and food.
Fifty-three countries had already banned its use, including the biggest producer of paraquat, China, she said.
Glyphosate was deemed a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Researchers had found it in mothers and umbilical cords. Many countries had banned it and the chemical’s producer in Germany lost a major legal dispute, with nearly 10,000 lawsuits related to the weedkiller, Assoc Prof Jiraporn said.
Chlorpyrifos retarded children’s learning ability and had been found in the blood of pregnant women and umbilical cords. it was banned in many countries, including the United States, she said.
The government’s ad hoc committee on hazardous substances was expected to make a decision on the matter on Thursday.
In August of 2018 a San Francisco’s Superior Court ruled that Monsanto must pay US$289 million (9.65 billion baht) in damages to a school groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, as the conglomerate’s herbicide product Roundup had caused him to be stricken with cancer.
Monsanto has appealed the ruling and denies that glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, causes cancer and says decades of scientific studies have shown the chemical to be safe for human use.