Next month parties to the Stockholm Convention will meet in Geneva to debate whether the manufacture and use of endosulfan should be globally restricted.
Endosulfan is an extremely hazardous chemical pesticide used on a wide variety of crops.
It is like DDT -- a persistent organic pollutant (POP). It takes a very long time to break down naturally once it has been released into the environment and it can be transported over long distances. Traces of endosulfan have been found in the blood of polar bears in Svalbard, the blubber of minke whales and even in grasses on Mt. Everest.
Human exposure to it has been linked to severe physical deformities, infertility and neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Unborn children and infants are particularly vulnerable because it accumulates in placental tissue, umbilical cord blood and breast milk. It has been found in samples taken from women in countries including Denmark, Finland, Spain, South Africa and the USA.
Endosulfan is also devastating to livestock and wildlife. Run-off from fields has emptied life from stretches of rivers tens of thousands of kilometres long, and spraying has resulted in severe declines in beneficial insects such as bees that are needed for crop pollination.
It is dangerous, out-dated and there are proven, effective, economically-viable and socially sustainable alternatives for all its uses.
Endosulfan has been banned in more than 70 countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Indonesia, Australia and all EU countries.
When announcing the US phase out, the US EPA highlighted that "endosulfan poses unacceptable risks to agricultural workers and wildlife, and can persist in the environment."
Opposition to a global ban is limited to a small number of countries, with most vocal opposition from the Indian delegation. The Indian Government is the owner and beneficiary of one of the largest endosulfan manufacturers in the world.
Please help us to send a message to the parties to the Stockholm Convention that the world needs a global ban on endosulfan without exemptions, and that people are more important than profits.
Endosulfan is an outdated and hazardous agro-chemical and its use has been linked to severe physical deformities, infertility and reproductive problems, and neurological disorders in humans.
It is also devastating to wildlife, harming livestock and wiping out insects beneficial for agriculture such as bees.
More than 70 countries have now instigated national restrictions on its use including top rice, corn and soybean producers such as Brazil, Japan, Indonesia and the US.
However, it's persistence in the environment and subsequent long-distance transportation mean that a global ban is the only way individual states can be assured that their population is not exposed.
Recognizing this, that there are proven, effective, economically-viable and socially sustainable alternatives available for all of its uses, and as a concerned global citizen, I am therefore asking you to support the listing of endosulfan under Annex A of the Stockholm Convention without any exemptions.
We hope that you will add your support to international efforts to protect the environment and human health.
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