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Daily News Archive
From March 5, 2001

30% of Pesticides Marketed to Developing Countries Do Not Meet International Quality Standards

On March 2, 2001, Reuters Health reported that United Nations (UN) agencies announced that approximately 30% of pesticides marketed to developing countries, with an estimated annual market value of $900 million, do not meet internationally accepted quality standards. "They are posing a serious threat to human health and the environment," the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a joint statement.

"These poor-quality pesticides frequently contain hazardous substances and impurities that have already been banned or severely restricted elsewhere," Gero Vaagt of Rome-based FAO's pesticide management group told Reuters Health. "Such pesticides often contribute to the accumulation of obsolete pesticide stocks in developing countries." David Heymann, executive director of WHO's communicable disease activities, added that in many pesticide products, the active ingredient concentrations are outside internationally accepted tolerance limits.

The Reuters story also noted that pesticide products are often poorly labeled and packaged leading to an even higher proportion of dangerous products. "The labelling, often written in improper language, fails to provide data on the active ingredient, application, date of manufacture and safe handling of the chemical," the UN agencies said.