India Continues To Use Dangerous Pesticides Banned In Most Countries

“Nearly a decade ago, the Indian government ruled out a ban on the production and use of monocrotophos, the highly toxic pesticide that killed 23 children this month in a village school providing free lunches under a government-sponsored program,” Reuters reports. “Although the government argues the benefits of strong pesticides outweigh the hazards if properly managed, the school food poisoning tragedy underlined criticism such controls are virtually ignored on the ground,” the news agency writes in an article examining the use of the pesticide and India’s need to feed its growing population. “According to the WHO, swallowing 1,200 milligrams — less than a teaspoon — of monocrotophos can be fatal to humans. In 2009, it called for India to ban the product because of its extreme toxicity,” Reuters states, noting, “WHO officials say the school tragedy reinforces the dangers of the pesticide.” The news agency adds, “But in the fields of rural India, pesticides like monocrotophos continue to be widely used” (Jadhav et al., 7/28).

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