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Know endosulfan

Apr 27, 2011

A voluntary research, advocacy and action group, Thanal’s publication Endosulfan - A Fact sheet and Answers to common questions throws light on what makes endosulfan a controversial chemical.

Endosulfan - A Fact sheet and Answers to common questions



Endosulfan is an insecticide. This colourless solid has emerged as a highly controversial agrichemical due to its acute toxicity. It is 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.

Because of its threats to the environment, a global ban on the use and manufacture of endosulfan is being considered under the Stockholm Convention going in Geneva. 

Endosulfan has been used in agriculture around the world to control insect pests.

Endosulfan is one of the most toxic pesticides on the market today, responsible for many fatal pesticide poisoning incidents around the world. Endosulfan can cause reproductive and developmental damage in both animals and humans. 

Whether endosulfan can cause cancer is debated. 

With regard to consumers intake of endosulfan from residues on food, the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations has concluded that long-term exposure from food is unlikely to present a public health concern, but short term exposure can exceed acute reference doses. Endosulfan is acutely neurotoxic to both insects and mammals, including humans.

Several studies have documented that endosulfan can also affect human development. 

India the world's largest user of endosulfan, In 2001, in Kerala, India, endosulfan spraying became suspect when linked to a series of abnormalities noted in local children. Researchers studying children Kasargod District, Kerala have linked endosulfan exposure to delays in sexual maturity among boys.

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