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LMIPPE February 2002

The Cashew plantations owned by the Plantation Corporation of Kerala (PCK) in Kasaragod has been aerially sprayed with the organochlorine pesticide Endosulfan, as if a ritual over the last two and half decades. Today, people in the villages in atleast 15 panchayaths are complaining from peculiar and complex diseases hitherto unknown in their lives.

Children are living with congenital anomalies, mental retardation, physical deformities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and hydrocephalus. Psychiatric problems are also on the increase

and

suicidal

tendencies

are

high.

Doctors

have

reported

many

of cases of breast, cancer , throat especially and

of

the

liver

intestinal

Increased

rate

infertility

and

and

blood.

cancer,

undescended testis among men, miscarriages and hormonal irregularities among women are reported. Cancer among men is almost double that of women. Rheumatic complaints and

paralysis reported.

is very common. Endometriosis, a

Parkinson’s Disease is also being serious illness affecting the uterus,

and which has been been diagnosed. Skin

linked to disorders

organochlorine pesticides have are very common. Respiratory

diseases immune

and frequent and systems disorders

persistent illness indicating have affected children.

possible

Since 1979, farmers and the local media have raised the concern that endosulfan and its aerial spray is the cause for the ailments seen in cattle and later in human beings. In 1998, the sub-court ordered an interim stay on aerial spraying of pesticides in the Periya Division of the PCK. Following the permanent injunction of the sub-court against the pesticide spray, in December 2000, there was widespread protests from the people in two other major divisions of the PCK – Muliyar and Perla.

Early in 2001, the residue analysis conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment showed very high levels of endosulfan presence – the first evidence that endosulfan was there in the environment and living tissues – enough to cause the damage

that was seen.

In

August 2001,

suspended the

use

of endosulfan

orders.

the Government of in the State until

Kerala further

Literature and studies available from all over the world show that endosulfan is a highly toxic chemical banned/severely restricted in 32 countries and with toxicological properties comparable with DDT and Endrin which are already banned in India.

Endosulfan can cause endocrine disruptions, reproductive system disorders, central nervous system disorders, liver and kidney dysfunctions in animals and human beings. It has been shown to display genotoxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic effects in animal and human studies.

Human beings and the environment have been exposed to endosulfan for more than two decades now. So many ailments

have been plantations

.

reported from the villages surrounding these Literature and scientific studies have shown that

endosulfan is capable of causing these ailments.

Thanal

Executive Summary

3

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