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16, 2013

NR # 3258

Solon seeks to criminalize the use, disposal and importation of Monocrotophos

The manufacture, importation, storage, distribution, sale, use and disposal of a highly toxic pesticide called monocrotophos will soon be a criminal offense once a bill filed by a neophyte party-list lawmaker is approved by Congress. Rep. Delph Gan Lee (AGRI Party-List) filed House Bill 2426 banning the use and importation of monocrotophos to ensure that the toxic pesticide will not victimize anyone in the country. The bill penalizes a person caught manufacturing, importing, distributing, selling, using or disposing pesticides found containing monocrotophos with 5 years imprisonment and a fine of P1,000,000. Lee said monocrotophos, an organophosphorus (OP) insecticide, developed by Ciba-Geigy, now Novartis is primarily used to control cotton pests but is also employed on citrus, olives, rice, maize, sorghum, sugar cane, sugar beet, peanuts, potatoes, soya beans, vegetables, ornamentals and tobacco. According to the neophyte lawmaker, this insecticide was described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a nerve poison banned in many countries because of its high acute toxicity. It classified monocrotophos as highly hazardous and had been responsible for deaths resulting from accidental or intentional exposure. It is very toxic orally and also by inhalation or absorption through skin. Early symptoms of poisoning may include excessive sweating, headache, weakness, giddiness, nausea, vomiting, hypersalivation, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, blurred vision and slurred speech, Lee said. Inhalation or skin contact may increase the susceptibility to the pesticide without showing immediate symptoms, Lee added. Lee said many incidents in developing countries such as India, Brazil, Paraguay, have been linked to monocrotophos causing paralysis in children even leading to their deaths. Even in the Cordillera region, monocrotophos as one of the pesticides widely used by farmers suffered from adverse health effects, Lee said. Lee expressed dismay that at present, monocrotophos is not listed in the banned and regulated pesticides of the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), an agency of the Philippine Department of Agriculture which is responsible for overseeing matters regarding fertilizer supply and production. She added that there were numerous reports that monocrotophos is still widely used in the Philippines. The low cost and ready availability of this pesticide do not outweigh the potential harm that it can cause to our farmers and to the consuming public. Hence the passage of this bill is earnestly sought, Lee said. (30) lvc