Daily News Archive
Proposes Farm Chemical Safety Measures
Pesticides, November 18, 2003) A new proposal in Thailand arose
in order to protect the environment and public health from chemicals
used at local tangerine farms, according to the Bangkok Post.
The plan, created by Thailand's Pollution Control Department, would
create buffer zones around tangerine farms to keep hazardous pesticides
from reaching residential areas and water sources. The proposal was
raised for discussion November 14 at a meeting of authorities in the
Under the department's proposal, buffer zones between tangerine farms
and community areas would be 500 meters wide, while that between the
farms and water sources would be 100 meters wide, as reported by the
The plan comes as part of a larger effort in Thailand to reduce the
environmental impact of tangerine farming. Tangerine farmers who own
more than 500 rai of plantation are required to have a wastewater detention
pond. Those who have at least 100 rai must hire at least one agricultural
expert. Furthermore, tangerine farmers are required to report to authorities
at least once a year and provide details of the chemicals they have
been using on their farms. Presently, the Natural Resources Ministry
is attempting to declare districts that are home to dense tangerine
plantings as environmental protection zones.
In addition, the Natural Resources Ministry is considering a ban of
two extremely hazardous pesticides used in the tangerine-farming sector:
endosulfan and methamidophos. Both of these chemicals are highly acutely
toxic and easily absorbed through several routes of exposure. Endosulfan
has been linked with testicular cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer,
and defects in male sex organs. Methamidophos is linked to adverse reproductive
effects, as observed when reduced sperm count and sperm viability were
seen in men who were exposed to the product Tamaron in China. Additionally,
a two-generation feeding study in rats showed a decrease in the percentage
of females delivering offspring at all dose levels of methamidophos.
Apprehension was provoked in Thailand when the Public Health Ministry
detected both of these chemicals in the blood of residents living in
the vicinity of tangerine orchards. These pesticides were also found
in soil and water samples taken by the Pollution Control Department.
''Use of such chemicals can cause serious environmental damage to their
communities. It's their responsibility to use environment-friendly substances,''
stated Dr Ampaiwan Paradornnuwat, of Kasetsart University.