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India Phasing Out Use of Highly Toxic Pesticides

The Indian Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers is taking steps to stop using highly toxic chemicals including pesticides and insecticides.

The list of potentially banned substances includes Captan, Oxyfluorfen, Deltamethrin, Pendimethalin and others.

Many of the substances have known health effects and have been banned by countries around the world, but some nations continue to use them for widespread applications, leading to the direct and indirect health consequences.

Let’s break down why some of these chemicals are so dangerous:

  • Captan
    • Use: Controlling plant disease, improving appearance of some fruits and vegetables
    • Health Effects: The EPA classifies it as a carcinogen
    • Is it used in the U.S.?: Yes, it is used to control fungal diseases like downy mildew
  • Oxyfluorfen
    • Use: Can be used to grow rice, peanuts, vegetables and more
    • Health Effects: Inhalation at high doses can cause irritation; it’s also likely to bioaccumulate in the body
    • Is it used in the U.S.?: Yes, it is still used for many broad-leaf plants
  • Deltamethrin
    • Use: It is a broad-spectrum insecticide
    • Health Effects: The NPIC says it is low in toxicity when “touched or breathed in” but could cause gastrointestinal damage in high doses
    • Is it used in the U.S.?: Yes, it is used in many public spaces like golf courses to keep greens beautified and tidy

Phys.Org reports that India uses some of these compounds in high-volume situations, and there are also problems with runoff, which leads to human health hazards.

"Given that pesticide poisonings, accidental or deliberate, account for an average of 20,000 annual deaths in this country, the government notification of a plan to phase out 27 extremely or highly hazardous farm chemicals should be welcomed by all," says Devinder Sharma, to Phys.Org.

The article further explains that in India, banning dangerous chemicals has been a long time coming, because the decision-makers need to consider other ways farmers could eliminate disease and pests while still doing it affordably if some pesticides were to become banned.

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