Pesticide Action Network Latin America
Asociación Nacional de Mujeres Rurales e Indígenas
National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women

Press Release, July 17, 2007

Civil society organizations backed up Congress bill aimed to ban the most dangerous pesticides used in Chile.

Valparaíso, Chile / Representatives from Pesticide Action Network - Latin America (RAP-AL) and the National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women (ANAMURI) made a sound speech in front of members of the Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development Committee of the Chilean House of Representatives, backing up a bill (#) aimed to ban pesticides whose effects on human health and the environment are proved to be harmful.

This bill (Number 4877-01) was introduced by congressmen Marco Enríquez-Ominami, Sergio Aguiló, René Alinco, Marcelo Díaz, Roberto León, Fulvio Rossi, Alejandro Sule and Eugenio Tuma as an answer to citizen concerns about the use of class 1a and 1b pesticides (extremely hazardous and highly hazardous, according to WHO).

María Elena Rozas, Coordinator of Alliance for a Better Quality of Life (RAP-AL CHILE) and Alicia Muñoz, Secretary General of the National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women (ANAMURI), were invited to attend the ordinary meeting of the Agriculture Committee held on July 17th, 2007, in order to present their points of view regarding this bill. They stated that "there is no way to guarantee that pesticides classified in groups 1a and 1b will not cause serious hazards to the environment and to human health. The cancellation of the registry of these toxic substances will prevent further intoxications and deaths in Chile. OECD countries have banned or severely restricted these pesticides, and even the FAO has been asking developing countries, for many years, to ban their use as soon as possible". They also underlined the necessity of a law that will not only ban pesticides with well known toxic and acute impacts on people's health but will also ban o pesticides with serious chronic effects, such as tumors, cancer and severe disruptions of reproductive, neurological, endocrine and immune systems. "Manufacturers and retailers should be requested, at least, to ad risk warnings about these chronic effects when labeling pesticides, as it is being done in the European Union", stated María Elena Rozas.

Alicia Muñoz described the dramatic situation of agricultural workers, both women and men, as well as that of rural families exposed to the intensive use of pesticides and fertilizers, enphasizing the imperious necessity that the Deputies fulfil their role in the regulation of agrochemicals and the enforcement of legal provisions on this subject. The delegate of ANAMURI remembered that in 2000, Deputy Adriana Muñoz and other Representatives introduced a bill aimed to protect rural workers and their communities from the use of pesticides, which still is not a law.

Pesticide poisonings
In 2005 there were 19 fatalities due to poisoning and 785 cases of poisoning reported in Chile. In 668 cases it was possible to identify the pesticide involved and 23% of these cases (153 events) were associated to pesticides classified as 1a and 1b. There are 117 cases the name of the pesticide involved remains unknown.
The higher poisoning data is associated to pesticides belonging to WHO's official regulatory categories 1a and 1b (extremely and highly hazardous pesticide). Some developed countries have banned those pesticides.

Pesticides of 1a and 1b groups associated with 2005 fatalities due to poisoning are: Paraquat, methomyl, metamidophos, coumaphos and carbofurane. Other pesticides involved: sulphur, dimethoate, diazinon and aldicarb. 70% of these cases were suicides and the rest were unintentional and happened in work times.

1a and 1b pesticides involved in 2005 reports of poisonings
Methamidophos 97 poisonings
Methomyl: 24 poisonings
Aldicarb: 14 poisonings
Carbofurane: 7 poisonings
Aluminum Phosphide: 6 poisonings
Methyl bromide: 6 poisonings

12 deaths due to poisoning happened in 2004. 34% of poisoned cases had to be treated in public health care facilities. In 2004 paraquat was responsible for 22% of fatalities in poisoning events and metamidophos was responsible for 8% of deaths linked to poisonings.

Source: Health Secretary, Exposure Surveillance Net REVEP, Ministerio de Salud)

(#) The bill has a single Article saying: The following second segment must be added to the 35th section belonging to the Decreto Ley 3.557 dated February 9, 1981: Besides what has been stated in the former segment, pesticides classified in 1a and 1b groups are banned. These pesticides cannot be imported, produced, sold, dealt or used. A bylaw will update the list of pesticides classified in these groups according lines set by HMO. Infringement will be punished with a 50 to 500 UTM fine".

Chile: Manufacturers of pesticides belonging to WHO's official regulatory categories 1a and 1b

Bayer CropScience A.G and related companies:
Methamidophos: Tamaron 600 SL
Azinphos Methyl: Cotnion 35 WP
Formetanate HCI: Dicarzol 500 SP
Methiocarb: Mesurol 500 SC
Deltamethrine+Endosulfan: Decisdan 328 EC
Methamidophos +Cyfluthrin: Baythroid TM 525 SL

Dow AgroSciences and related companies
Methomyl: Metomil
ANASAC: Paraquat
Paramak 276

Makhteshim-Agan and related companies
Carbofurane: Carbodan 48%SC
Methomyl: Methomex 90 PS
Endosulfan: Thionex 35 EC

Point International LTD (England):
Oxamyl Vydate L
Dichlorvos: Point DDVP 100-EC
Methomyl: Balazo 90 SP

Makhteshim Chemicals Works Ltda. (Israel):
Azinphos Methyl