"Nearly 90% of the poisoning victims during June and July [in 1987
in the cotton growing region of Nicaragua] were workers on small and
medium-sized farms, particularly on cooperatives recently formed
through Nicaragua's successful agrarian reform. In a region
dominated by cotton, the area under corn cultivation doubled in one
year. Farmers substituted the carbamate insecticide carbofuran
(Furadan) for the less toxic chlorpyrifos for the control of the
principal corn pest, Spodoptera sp., because chlorpyrifos was
generally unavailable to small farmers due to a drop in imports.
Compounding the problem, the Furadan that was supplied came in a
powdered formulation, and it was applied manually.
"Powdered Furadan is an extremely toxic insecticide that can be
absorbed easily through inhalation or through the skin. The powdered
formulation, which is prohibited in many areas of the developed
world, had been dumped on the Nicaraguan market. Two weeks into the
Furadan epidemic, health workers responsible for the health
surveillance system had identified the epidemic and had implemented
measures to control it. A regional health emergency was declared,
and education efforts were mounted in local clinics and through the
mass media. The information collected subsequently proved useful in
building a political consensus that pesticide poisoning is a major
public health problem; it is now one of the five priority
preventable diseases in the current three year public health plan
for the region."
I am very sad to say it does not surprise me to find this pesticide
being marketed to/in "developing" nations.
Michele Gale-Sinex, communications manager
Center for Integrated Ag Systems
UW-Madison College of Ag and Life Sciences
Voice: (608) 262-8018 FAX: (608) 265-3020
Wash your hands after using any pesticide product.
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