A quarter teaspoon of this pesticide can kill – Ban it

furan-effectThe Consumers Association of Penang calls on the Ministry of Agriculture to impose an immediate ban on  the pesticide carbofuran.

Early this year five farmers in Pendang, Kedah lost RM30,000 when 18 cows died from carbofuran poisoning. The cows were grazing on the rice field which had used the pesticide.

During a recent survey it was found that farmers growing maize placed carbofuran granules at the shoot of the plant to prevent it being attacked by pests. Watermelon growers were also using carbofuran on the soil to prevent pest from attacking the plant.
Due to its acute toxicity carbofuran has been banned in Canada and the European Union since 2008. Recently the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also banned its use. 

furadan-cropsCarbofuran is one of the most toxic carbamate pesticides. It is marketed under the trade name Furadan. According to the Food Regulation 1985 carbofuran is allowed to be used in rice, maize, pepper (black, white), mango, banana, sugarcane and brinjal.

Carbofuran has one of the highest acute toxicities to humans amongst the insecticides widely used on field crops.  A quarter teaspoon (1ml) can be fatal. It is a neurotoxic pesticide and can over stimulate the nervous system, causing nausea, dizziness, confusion. At very high exposures it can cause respiratory paralysis and death. But the long term effects are far more serious, permanent damage to the nervous and the reproductive system.

Consumers also risk serious health effects from pesticide residues on food and  contaminated drinking.

furadan-cow-dead-reportCarbofuran poses significant environmental risks.  Because of its long soil half-life (up to 60 days) carbofuran also has a high potential for groundwater contamination and is mobile in sandy and silt loam soils. Carbofuran has a high potential for ground water contamination and has been detected in surface water.

Carbofuran is responsible for the deaths of millions of birds and wildlife since its introduction in 1967. Carbofuran pellets often resemble plant seeds commonly eaten by birds and are often applied on newly cultivated soil.  One highly toxic granule can kill a small bird and carbofuran moves up the food chain when birds are eaten by predatory species.

This chemical is also highly toxic to fish, and is believed to be one of the main contributors to the reduction of salmon populations in the northwestern United States.  In early 2009, it was reported that carbofuran was being used to poison African lions in Kenya.

In view of the toxicity of carbofuran, this dangerous agrochemical should be banned in Malaysia.

Press release, 22 Sept 2010