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Endosulfan: Toxicity, Effects on Human Being, History
Some of the interesting articles and news on Endosulfan.

Why now? The POPRC (Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee) nominated endosulfan to be added to the Stockholm Convention at the Conference of Parties (COP) in April 2011, which would result in a global ban.

What is Endosulfan?
Endosulfan is an off-patent organochlorine insecticide and acaricide. This colourless solid has emerged as a highly controversial agrichemical due to its acute toxicity, potential for bioaccumulation, and role as an endocrine disruptor. Banned in more than 63 countries, including the European Union, Australia and New Zealand, and other Asian and West African nations, and being phased out in the United States, Brazil and Canada. It is still used extensively in many other countries including India and China. It is produced by Bayer CropScience, Makhteshim Agan, and Government-of-India–owned Hindustan Insecticides Limited among others. Because of its threats to the environment, a global ban on the use and manufacture of endosulfan is being considered under the Stockholm Convention.

History of commercialization and regulation
  • Early 1950s: Endosulfan was developed.
  • 1954: Hoechst AG (now Bayer CropScience) won USDA approval for the use of endosulfan in the United States.
  • 2000: Home and garden use in the United States was terminated by agreement with the EPA.
  • 2002: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended that endosulfan registration should be cancelled, and the EPA determined that endosulfan residues on food and in water pose unacceptable risks. The agency allowed endosulfan to stay on the US market, but imposed restrictions on its agricultural uses.
  • 2007: International steps were taken to restrict the use and trade of endosulfan. It is recommended for inclusion in the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent, and the European Union proposed inclusion in the list of chemicals banned under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Such inclusion would ban all use and manufacture of endosulfan globally. Meanwhile, the Canadian government announced that endosulfan was under consideration for phase-out, and Bayer CropScience voluntarily pulled its endosulfan products from the U.S. market but continues to sell the products elsewhere.
  • 2008: In February, environmental, consumer, and farm labor groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Organic Consumers Association, and the United Farm Workers called on the U.S. EPA to ban endosulfan. In May, coalitions of scientists, environmental groups, and arctic tribes asked the EPA to cancel endosulfan, and in July a coalition of environmental and workers groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA challenging its 2002 decision to not ban it. In October, the Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention moved endosulfan along in the procedure for listing under the treaty, while India blocked its addition to the Rotterdam Convention.
  • 2009: The Stockholm Convention's Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) agreed that endosulfan is a persistent organic pollutant and that "global action is warranted", setting the stage of a global ban. New Zealand banned endosulfan.
  • 2010: The POPRC nominated endosulfan to be added to the Stockholm Convention at the Conference of Parties (COP) in April 2011, which would result in a global ban. The EPA announced that the registration of endosulfan in the U.S. will be cancelled and that it is in negotiations with Makhteshim Agan of North America to phase the organochlorine out. Australia banned the use of the chemical.

Health effects
The Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations has concluded that long-term intake of residues of endosulfan from uses that have been considered by the JMPR is unlikely to present a public health concern. Endosulfan is one of the most toxic pesticides on the market today, responsible for many fatal pesticide poisoning incidents around the world. Endosulfan is also a xenoestrogen—a synthetic substance that imitates or enhances the effect of estrogens—and it can act as an endocrine disruptor, causing reproductive and developmental damage in both animals and humans. Whether endosulfan can cause cancer is debated.

Endosulfan is acutely neurotoxic to both insects and mammals, including humans. The US EPA classifies it as Category I: "Highly Acutely Toxic" based on a LD50 value of 30 mg/kg for female rats, while the World Health Organization classifies it as Class II "Moderately Hazardous" based on a rat LD50 of 80 mg/kg. It is a GABA-gated chloride channel antagonist, and a Ca2+, Mg2+ ATPase inhibitor. Both of these enzymes are involved in the transfer of nerve impulses. Symptoms of acute poisoning include hyperactivity, tremors, convulsions, lack of coordination, staggering, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, unconsciousness. Doses as low as 35 mg/kg have been documented to cause death in humans, and many cases of sub-lethal poisoning have resulted in permanent brain damage. Farm workers with chronic endosulfan exposure are at risk of rashes and skin irritation.
EPA's acute reference dose for dietary exposure to endosulfan is 0.015 mg/kg for adults and 0.0015 mg/kg for children. For chronic dietary expsoure, the EPA references doses are 0.006 mg/(kg·day) and 0.0006 mg/(kg·day) for adults and children, respectively.

Reproductive and developmental effects
Several studies have documented that endosulfan can also affect human development. Researchers studying children from an isolated village in Kasargod Ditrict, Kerala, India have linked endosulfan exposure to delays in sexual maturity among boys. Endosulfan was the only pesticide applied to cashew plantations in the hills above the village for 20 years and had contaminated the village environment. The researchers compared the villagers to a control group of boys from a demographically similar village that lacked a history of endosulfan pollution. Relative to the control group, the exposed boys had high levels of endosulfan in their bodies, lower levels of testosterone, and delays in reaching sexual maturity. Birth defects of the male reproductive system including cryptorchidism were also more prevalent in the study group. The researchers concluded that "our study results suggest that endosulfan exposure in male children may delay sexual maturity and interfere with sex hormone synthesis." Increased incidences of cryptorchidism have been observed in other studies of endosulfan exposed populations.
A 2007 study by the California Department of Public Health found that women who lived near farm fields sprayed with endosulfan and the related organochloride pesticide dicofol during the first eight weeks of pregnancy are several times more likely to give birth to children with autism. This is the first study to look for an association between endosulfan and autism, and additional study is needed to confirm the connection.
A 2009 assessment concluded that epidemiology and rodent studies that suggest male reproductive and autism effects are open to other interpretations, and that developmental or reproductive toxicity occurs only at endosulfan doses that cause neurotoxicity.

Environmental fate
Endosulfan breaks down into endosulfan sulfate and endosulfan diol, both of which, according to the EPA, have "structures similar to the parent compound and are also of toxicological concern…The estimated half-lives for the combined toxic residues (endosulfan plus endosulfan sulfate) [range] from roughly 9 months to 6 years." The EPA concluded that, "based on environmental fate laboratory studies, terrestrial field dissipation studies, available models, monitoring studies, and published literature, it can be concluded that endosulfan is a very persistent chemical which may stay in the environment for lengthy periods of time, particularly in acid media." The EPA also concluded that "endosulfan has relatively high potential to bioaccumulate in fish." It is also toxic to amphibians: low levels have been found to kill tadpoles.
Endosulfan is subject to long range atmospheric transport, i.e. it can travel long distances from where it is used. For example, a 2008 report by the National Park Service found that endosulfan commonly contaminates air, water, plants and fish of national parks in the U.S. Most of these parks are far from areas where endosulfan is used. Endosulfan has also been detected in dust from the Sahara Desert collected in the Caribbean after being blown across the Atlantic Ocean. In 2009, the committee of scientific experts of the Stockholm Convention concluded that "endosulfan is likely, as a result of long range environmental transport, to lead to significant adverse human health and environmental effects such that global action is warranted."

Status by region
India the world's largest user of endosulfan, and a major producer with three companies—Excel Crop Care, H.I.L., and Coromandal Fertilizers—producing 4,500 tonnes annually for domestic use and another 4,000 tonnes for export.
In 2001, in Kerala, India, endosulfan spraying became suspect when linked to a series of abnormalities noted in local children. Initially endosulfan was banned, yet under pressure from the pesticide industry this ban was largely revoked. The situation there has been called "next in magnitude only to the Bhopal gas tragedy." In 2006, in Kerala, compensation of Rs 50,000 was paid to the next kin of each of 135 people who were identified as having died as a result of endosulfan use. Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan also gave an assurance to people affected by poisoning, "that the government would chalk out a plan to take care of treatment, food and other needs of the affected persons and that its promise of rehabilitation of victims would be honoured."

Many Social activists and organisations have been active in providing rehabilitation for the victims of poisoning. They are demanding the banning of Endosulphan in India ,Indias Second largest political party BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also demanding the banning of Endosulphan. India is strongly opposed to adding endosulfan to the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Former President of BJP Gujarat unit and prominent BJP Leader Rajendra Rajendra Singh Rana has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding the withdrawal of the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) study on Endosulfan titled “Report Of The Investigation Of Unusual Illness” allegedly produced by the Endosulfan exposure in Padre village of Kasargode district in north Kerala. In his statement Mr. Rana said "The NIOH report is flawed. I'm in complete agreement with what the workers have to say on this. In fact, I have already made representation to the Prime Minister and concerned Union Ministers of health and environment demanding immediate withdrawal of the report," as reported by The Economic Times and Outlook India.

Mrs. Vibhavari Dave, local leader and Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), from Bhavnagar, Gujarat voiced her concerns on the impact of ban of Endosulfan on families and workers of Bhavnagar. She was a part of the delegation with Bhavnagar MP, Rajendra Singh Rana, which submitted a memorandum to the district collector’s office to withdraw the NIOH report calling for ban of Endosulfan. The Pollution Control Board of the Government of Kerala, prohihited the use of Endosulfan in the state of Kerala on 10 November 2010. On February 18, 2011, the Karnataka Government followed suit and suspended the use of Endosulfan for a period of 60 days in the state. Indian Union Minister of Agriculture Sharad Pawar has ruled out implementing a similar ban at the national level.

The Government of Gujarat had initiated a study in response to the workers rally in Bhavnagar and representations made by Sishuvihar, an NGO based in Ahmadabad. This study done by the Government of Gujarat in the interest of farmers, people and industry of Gujarat. The committee constituted for the study also included former Dy.Director of NIOH, Ahmadabad. The committee noted that the WHO, FAO, IARC and US EPA have indicated that endosulfan is not carcinogenic, not teratogenic, not mutagenic and not genotoxic. This study done by the Government of Gujarat in the interest of farmers, people and industry of Gujarat. The highlight of this report is the farmer exposure study based on analysis of their blood reports for residues of endosulfan and the absence of any residues. This corroborates the lack of residues in worker exposure studies.

Source: Wikipedia, news articles.
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Effects of Endosulfan on Human Beings

A Report submitted in partial fulfilment of Environmental studies course for the award of Bachelor of technology degree from National Institute of Technology, Calicut.

See attachment. (PDF format)

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Whatever may be, I doubt whether the Government will ban this product completely..
Kerala Government has recently started serious compain against this endosulfan and putting pressure to Central government to ban this product, but nothing happening.!!
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Mass Petition Demanding total ban of the production and use of Endosulfan- the toxic Pesticide
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Karnataka govt banned it for 1 month . Very next week endosulfan entered market in another name .
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Endosulfan haunts Kerala, Karnataka

Anxieties over possibility of the offspring bearing congenital disorders due to Endosulfan poisoning are reportedly forcing women of Kasaragod in Kerala – the area with the largest number of Endosulfan victims in the world – to commit feticide even as Kasaragod hosted a national convention on Sunday as part of extending the anti-pesticide agitation to the national level.

Reports from the Endosulfan-hit areas like Bovikkanam, Enkamaje, Perla and Periya in Kasaragod show that more and more women are resorting to termination of their pregnancies out of the fear that the offspring might bear serious congenital diseases. Babies with serious disorders were being born in the area for the past twenty years.

Continuous aerial spraying of Endosulfan in the cashew plantations in 11 panchayats of Kasaragod district for two decades since 1980 has so far caused the death of about 600 people and serious health disorders like cancers, dermatological problems, reproductive disorders, early maturing in females and non-maturing of males in about 10,000 people.

A mother in Bovikkanam admitted to the media that she had terminated her pregnancy in 2007 out of fear of giving birth to “yet another baby” with congenital health disorders. She said she had got the pregnancy terminated at a clinic in Mangalore after convincing her husband of its need. She said she knew several other women who had committed feticide out of the same fear.

“My first baby was born with an oversized head and an undersized body. This is not unseen in this place. Babies are being born here with such disorders even now. After scanning, the doctor told me that the fetus had disorders similar to those of my first baby. I could not think of bringing yet another baby to the world knowing that it would live its whole life in suffering,” she said.
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Endosulfan Victims and Remediation Cell


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India's killer pesticide: World wants endosulfan ban, but India holds out

Posted: 10/20/09

The state of Kerala in India is held up in global circles as a paragon of progressiveness. The southern region has a 97 percent literacy rate, the highest in India and far higher than the current literacy rate in the United States. Health care is nearly universal and 95 percent of babies are delivered in hospitals. Life expectancy of 73 years is very high. Some attribute these stunning statistics to the Communist state administration, which has controlled Kerala for much of the last 50 years and placed a high priority on social welfare issues.

A worker's paradise, however, Kerala is not. The cashew orchards that provide employment to many rural farm workers are regularly dusted with a highly toxic pesticide called endosulfan. Kerala has become the epicenter of a growing controversy on the use of endosulfan, with the government agreeing to compensate families of farm workers who perished due to poisoning from the pesticide use. The scandal is widening to such an extent that many are calling it "The Second Bhopal," a reference to the industrial disaster at a Union Carbide plant that claimed thousands of lives. Now, as the global scientific community stands poised to ban endosulfan, making it only the 22nd substance to get onto the chemical blacklist, the Indian government is the most vocal opponent of the ban.
At a United Nations meeting in Geneva last week, scientists voted to draw up a risk management evaluation for endosulfan, as Reuters reported. This is the last step before putting endosulfan before a vote on a global ban under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs treaty). The treaty addresses chemicals that are known to strongly affect and easily accumulate in humans. The ban, if enacted, could take place as soon as 2011.

The opposition of the government stems from the deep disconnect between views on pesticides and toxicity between the developing world and the wealthy economies of the West. This gap appears to be closing as China and Brazil threaten to take the lead in the movement to slow carbon emissions and promote renewable energy. But in areas of food production and, in particular, crop production for export, the gap between these two worlds is in some cases yawning.

India's opposition is not a huge surprise. India uses more endosulfan than any other country and Indian chemical companies also export the substance. The government of India, bulwarked by strong agricultural interests, has long opposed an endosulfan ban, arguing that the pesticide can be used safely and that a ban would discriminate against Indian agriculture. Agricultural interests in the U.S., Australia and Brazil all oppose the ban, but governments of those countries have not expressed the same public opposition as that of India.

The pesticide, a brown or cream colored powder which is sprayed on crops by airplanes and by workers on the ground, is popular for a wide range of crop usage, including cotton, cocoa, cashews, potatoes, cabbage, coffee and soybeans. The substance kills most types of insect pests, including whiteflys, aphids, leafhoppers, Colorado potato beetles and cabbage worms. Farmers like endosulfan because it's cheap and does not tend to create resistance. In other words, it's a hugely effective way to kill bugs.

Unfortunately, endosulfan appears to kill many other things, as well. Environmental groups have alleged poisonings from improper use of the stuff has killed hundreds, if not thousands, of agricultural workers, primarily in the developing world. In the Kerala incident, the government acknowledged that endosulfan had killed at least 135 workers.

Exposure to endosulfan in humans can impact the central nervous system and cause hyperactivity, nausea, dizziness, convulsions and, in case of high exposure, rapid death. Longer-term exposure likely damages the kidneys, reproductive organs, nervous system and the immune system.

Scientists also believe that endosulfans are contributing to mysterious and terrifying frog die-offs in the Sierra Nevada mountains due to aerial spraying of endosfulans on crop fields in California, according to TreeHugger. In Australia, researchers have tentatively connected endosulfans with malformations of fish, including fish that have two or three heads, according to newspaper The Land.

India is clearly poised to become an economic powerhouse with its enormous population, nascent technology sector and rapidly growing economy. Along with Russia, China and Brazil, India will have a much greater say in global matters in the next decade and beyond.

Indian opposition in the next two years could result in further delays to a blanket global ban, as might be mandated by the United Nations. The hope is, India's leaders will decide that killing its own people with a pesticide that destroys just about everything else, good and bad, is wrongheaded when it comes to the country's long-term health, environmental and economic policy.

Alex Salkever is Senior Writer at AOL Daily Finance covering technology and greentech.

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Mainly, Kerala State is the one now pushing the Central Government to impose a ban on endosulfan. Mostly affected people are from Kasaragod district where the government have plenty of Cashew plantations. Besides this, not many using this product. Somehow the Central government is not happy to the ban because the reason may be something else??. Hope this will not lead to another scam??
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