Guv questions FPA over herbicide-A A +A
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
La Trinidad, Benguet -- Governor Nestor Fongwan is set to question the Fertilizer and Pest Authority (FPA) on the continued sale of an herbicide despite its toxic content.
In 2009, Fongwan asked the FPA to probe and pull out a restricted herbicide manufactured and distributed by Syngenta, which has no known antidote. The herbicide is blamed for increasing suicides in the province.
After four years, the same herbicide is still claiming lives.
"We will ask the FPA why the herbicide is still being distributed despite it having paraquat," Fongwan said.
Paraquat ingestion causes liver, lung, heart and kidney failure within several days to several weeks and may result in death. It is also linked to Parkinson’s disease.
A study by the provincial health office shows 222 chemical poisoning cases in the province since 2009 with the certain brand topping the list accounting for 39 deaths.
The records of the provincial health office back studies made by the Benguet State University showing an increasing trend in suicide cases in the province.
Fongwan said despite the interventions by the province to prevent the intake of the herbicide, farmers just buy the product in areas outside the province where it is not banned, making the ban in Benguet, useless.
The herbicide is labeled by the FPA as a restricted product and continues to be sold legally.
"[But] we want it to be banned altogether and not just restricted," the governor stressed.
Fongwan said the ban will continue to be in effect in the province despite a signed petition by farmers requesting the lifting of the ban.
Farmers have time and again turned to the restricted herbicide because of its cheap price as well as its effectivity.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 09, 2013.