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Thailand OK with controversial toxic agriculture chemicals

Staff Writer |
The use of controversial agricultural chemicals in Thailand like paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos will continue to be allowed, but with tighter regulations and controls.

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Industry Ministry deputy permanent secretary Somboon Yindeeyoungyuen, as chairman of the Hazardous Substance Committee that made the decision, said the three main agro-chemicals will not be banned despite demands from various quarters, but the Agriculture Department will have to come up with control regulations within two months.

Somboon said 18 out of the committee’s 24 members approved the continued use of herbicides paraquat and glyphosate, and pesticide chlorpyrifos, but with more restrictions and safety regulations.

The committee members decided not to ban the three farm chemicals, as their impacts on health were still debatable and the arguments were not strong enough to warrant a ban. He also said the alternatives to these three chemicals were not effective.

“The Agriculture Department will have to draft measures to control the use of paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos and place it before the Hazardous Substance Committee within the next two months,” he said.

“After the committee approves these control measures, they will be announced and enforced nationwide. The Agriculture Department will be the regulatory agency and have the responsibility of controlling the import, distribution and management of these chemicals.”

He revealed that the criteria for the restrictions would be on where these chemicals could be used, the amount of import and distribution, the amount of use and management, and the qualifications of the users.

“The restrictions are intended to promote safe use of these chemicals, as it was clear that many people were harmed by these farm chemicals because of improper and careless use,” he said.

Even though paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos have not been banned, Somboon pointed out that the committee had also ordered the Agriculture Department to gather evidence of their impact on people’s health.

If the evidence shows these chemicals to be really harmful, the committee can decide to ban them in the future.

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