It has been a long time the endosulphan is playing the role of a newsmaker. Definitely, ENDOSULPHAN is more famous; may be more than the Indian prime minister. Still it is being a horror that many parts of India is supporting endosulphan, despite seeing it’s harmful effects a small district,Kasaragod, in Kerala.Definitely, this has prompted me wright an article on this perspective.
WHAT IS ENDOSULPHAN
Endosulfan is an off-patent organochlorine insecticide and acaricide. This colourless solid has emerged as a highly controversial agrichemical due to its acute toxicity, potential for bioaccumulation, and role as an endocrine disruptor. Banned in more than 63 countries, including the European Union, Australia and New Zealand, and other Asian and West African nations, and being phased out in the United States, Brazil and Canada. It is still used extensively in many other countries including India and China. It is produced by Bayer CropScience, Makhteshim Agan, and Government-of-India–owned Hindustan Insecticides Limited among others.
USES OF ENDOSULPHAN
Endosulfan has been used in agriculture around the world to control insect pests including whiteflys, aphids, leafhoppers, Colorado potato beetles and cabbage worms. Because of its unique mode of action, it is useful in resistance management; however, because it is non-specific, it can negatively impact populations of beneficial insects. It is, however, considered to be moderately toxic to honey bees, and it is less toxic to bees than organophosphate insecticides.
Early 1950s: Endosulfan was developed.
1954: Hoechst AG (now Bayer CropScience) won USDA approval for the use of endosulfan in the United States.
2000: Home and garden use in the United States was terminated by agreement with the EPA.
2002: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended that endosulfan registration should be cancelled, and the EPA determined that endosulfan residues on food and in water pose unacceptable risks. The agency allowed endosulfan to stay on the US market, but imposed restrictions on its agricultural uses.
2007: International steps were taken to restrict the use and trade of endosulfan. It is recommended for inclusion in the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent, and the European Union proposed inclusion in the list of chemicals banned under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Such inclusion would ban all use and manufacture of endosulfan globally. Meanwhile, the Canadian government announced that endosulfan was under consideration for phase-out, and Bayer CropScience voluntarily pulled its endosulfan products from the U.S. market but continues to sell the products elsewhere.
2008: In February, environmental, consumer, and farm labor groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Organic Consumers Association, and the United Farm Workers called on the U.S. EPA to ban endosulfan. In May, coalitions of scientists, environmental groups, and arctic tribes asked the EPA to cancel endosulfan, and in July a coalition of environmental and workers groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA challenging its 2002 decision to not ban it. In October, the Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention moved endosulfan along in the procedure for listing under the treaty,while India blocked its addition to the Rotterdam Convention.
2009: The Stockholm Convention’s Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) agreed that endosulfan is a persistent organic pollutant and that “global action is warranted”, setting the stage of a global ban. New Zealand banned endosulfan.
2010: The POPRC nominated endosulfan to be added to the Stockholm Convention at the Conference of Parties (COP) in April 2011, which would result in a global ban.The EPA announced that the registration of endosulfan in the U.S. will be cancelled and that it is in negotiations with Makhteshim Agan of North America to phase the organochlorine out.Australia banned the use of the chemical.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations has concluded that long-term intake of residues of endosulfan from uses that have been considered by the JMPR is unlikely to present a public health concern. Endosulfan is one of the most toxic pesticides on the market today, responsible for many fatal pesticide poisoning incidents around the world. Endosulfan is also a xenoestrogen—a synthetic substance that imitates or enhances the effect of estrogens—and it can act as an endocrine disruptor, causing reproductive and developmental damage in both animals and humans. Whether endosulfan can cause cancer is debated.
Endosulfan is acutely neurotoxic to both insects and mammals, including humans. The US EPA classifies it as Category I: “Highly Acutely Toxic” based on a LD50 value of 30 mg/kg for female rats, while the World Health Organization classifies it as Class II “Moderately Hazardous” based on a rat LD50 of 80 mg/kg. It is a GABA-gated chloride channel antagonist, and a Ca2+, Mg2+ ATPase inhibitor. Both of these enzymes are involved in the transfer of nerve impulses. Symptoms of acute poisoning include hyperactivity, tremors, convulsions, lack of coordination, staggering, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, unconsciousness. Doses as low as 35 mg/kg have been documented to cause death in humans, and many cases of sub-lethal poisoning have resulted in permanent brain damage. Farm workers with chronic endosulfan exposure are at risk of rashes and skin irritation.
EPA’s acute reference dose for dietary exposure to endosulfan is 0.015 mg/kg for adults and 0.0015 mg/kg for children. For chronic dietary expsoure, the EPA references doses are 0.006 mg/(kg·day) and 0.0006 mg/(kg·day) for adults and children, respectively.
Theo Colborn, an expert on endocrine disruption, lists endosulfan as a known endocrine disruptor, and both the EPA and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry consider endosulfan to be a potential endocrine disruptor. Numerous in vitro studies have documented its potential to disrupt hormones and animal studies have demonstrated its reproductive and developmental toxicity, especially among males. A number of studies have documented that it acts as an anti-androgen in animals. Environmentally relevant doses of endosulfan equal to the EPA’s safe dose of 0.006 mg/kg/day have been found to affect gene expression in female rats similarly to the effects of estrogen. It is not known whether endosulfan is a human teratogen (an agent that causes birth defects), though it has significant teratogenic effects in laboratory rats. A 2009 assessment concluded that endocrine disruption occurs only at endosulfan doses that cause neurotoxicity.
Reproductive and developmental effects
Several studies have documented that endosulfan can also affect human development. Researchers studying children from an isolated village in Kasargod Ditrict, Kerala, India have linked endosulfan exposure to delays in sexual maturity among boys. Endosulfan was the only pesticide applied to cashew plantations in the hills above the village for 20 years and had contaminated the village environment. The researchers compared the villagers to a control group of boys from a demographically similar village that lacked a history of endosulfan pollution. Relative to the control group, the exposed boys had high levels of endosulfan in their bodies, lower levels of testosterone, and delays in reaching sexual maturity. Birth defects of the male reproductive system including cryptorchidism were also more prevalent in the study group. The researchers concluded that “our study results suggest that endosulfan exposure in male children may delay sexual maturity and interfere with sex hormone synthesis.” Increased incidences of cryptorchidism have been observed in other studies of endosulfan exposed populations.
A 2007 study by the California Department of Public Health found that women who lived near farm fields sprayed with endosulfan and the related organochloride pesticide dicofol during the first eight weeks of pregnancy are several times more likely to give birth to children with autism. This is the first study to look for an association between endosulfan and autism, and additional study is needed to confirm the connection.
A 2009 assessment concluded that epidemiology and rodent studies that suggest male reproductive and autism effects are open to other interpretations, and that developmental or reproductive toxicity occurs only at endosulfan doses that cause neurotoxicity.
Endosulfan and cancer
Endosulfan is not listed as known, probable, or possible carcinogen by the EPA, IARC, or other agencies. There are no epidemiological studies linking exposure to endosulfan specifically to cancer in humans, but in vitro assays have shown that endosulfan can promote proliferation of human breast cancer cells. Evidence of cancinogenicity in animals is mixed.
Endosulfan breaks down into endosulfan sulfate and endosulfan diol, both of which, according to the EPA, have “structures similar to the parent compound and are also of toxicological concern…The estimated half-lives for the combined toxic residues (endosulfan plus endosulfan sulfate) [range] from roughly 9 months to 6 years.” The EPA concluded that, “[b]ased on environmental fate laboratory studies, terrestrial field dissipation studies, available models, monitoring studies, and published literature, it can be concluded that endosulfan is a very persistent chemical which may stay in the environment for lengthy periods of time, particularly in acid media.” The EPA also concluded that “[e]ndosulfan has relatively high potential to bioaccumulate in fish.” It is also toxic to amphibians: low levels have been found to kill tadpoles.
Endosulfan is subject to long range atmospheric transport, i.e. it can travel long distances from where it is used. For example, a 2008 report by the National Park Service found that endosulfan commonly contaminates air, water, plants and fish of national parks in the U.S. Most of these parks are far from areas where endosulfan is used. Endosulfan has also been detected in dust from the Sahara Desert collected in the Caribbean after being blown across the Atlantic Ocean.In 2009, the committee of scientific experts of the Stockholm Convention concluded that “endosulfan is likely, as a result of long range environmental transport, to lead to significant adverse human health and environmental effects such that global action is warranted.”
WHAT HAPPENED IN KASARAGOD
May I show some of the pictures of the victims of endosulphan, which helps you to understand how deadly it is.
These are only some of the pictures, I could find. There are more pictures of the same and can be found on google image search.
Endosulphan is a life hiller as these images clearly states. The problem of endosulphan was known to public, when the people of Muliyar, a small panchayath in Kasaragod district, has started protesting against the same. Due to it’s harmful effects, The Kerala High Court has banned the same for a period of 10 years, in2002. Due to this only, many countries in the world has banned endosulphan. Today there is being a convention going on in Geneva for disscussing endosulphan related issues and for banning endosulphan. It can be considered as a victory for the people of Muliyar. But the central Government has taken a decision to support endosulphan.
The decision taken by the central government was so worse and it indirectly tells the people of kasaragod to die simply just because of endosulphan. Even if the Indian government supports endosulphan, the entire people is against it. This can be proved by the hunger strike conducted by the kerala cheif minister, V S Achuthanandan, on 25-04-2011 at Thiruvananthapuram.. Anyone viewing videos of the same can understand how much people has come to participate in the same and it will count more than tens of a thousand. On the same day, protest against the same was conducted on all the 14 district head quarters of the state. Many unreported protests were also conducted. And those reading this article can imagine how much the people of kerala participated for the same. It may count trillions or more.
Still, the Indian government is taking an action which can support the company making endosulphan only. If something is making more harmful than it’s beneficial side, then it must be considered harmful. Here, endosulphan cannot be considered just harmful, but deadly. It is very much understood for the central goverment. Many studies were conducted by kerala government and state government and concluded that the essence of endosulphan is still there in the farms, where endosulphan was sprayed. The interesting fact is that the use endosulphan was gradually reduced from 1965 and by 1980, it’s use has been minimized by the people themselves and by 2002, endosulphan isbanned by the government. Still, the new born babies in the endosulphan victim areas is still having physical and metal problems. Look, how much it affects. Kasargod is neither an Hiroshima or Nagasaki nor America has attacked there, still the problem is just like an nuclear bomb.
This is not a picture not only of Muliyar, but of 11 panchayaths of Kerala. Cases of endosulphan were also reported from some areas of Kannur and Wayanad of Kerala. It was heard that some areas of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are also experiencing problems due to endosulphan.
I am writing this article to show my strong protest against the indian government for taking the decision to go against the ban of endosulfan in the Geneva conference. May this be read by someone over the conference and may they will get the clear picture that the people of endosulphan victim areas and people of kerala is not with the central government and they still want to ban endosulphan.