by Chela Vazquez
Thank you Madam president. My name is Chela Vazquez and I am representing Pesticide Action Network.
Pesticide Action Network strongly supports the proposal by Burkina Faso and the Chemical Review Committee to list Gramoxone Super, corresponding to paraquat dichloride at or above 200g/L of paraquat ion as a Severely Hazardous Pesticide Formulation in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention.
Paraquat is an acutely toxic herbicide, rapidly absorbed by inhalation, adsorption through damaged skin leads to death. Splash of this chemical on the eyes causes blindness, as little as 23.5 mg/kg can kill a human being, and there is no antidote. There are an estimated 1.5 million poisonings and injuries per year from paraquat.
Paraquat is either banned or highly restricted in most industrialized nations and in many developing countries. The brunt of the impact of paraquat use is felt particularly among workers, peasants and rural communities in developing countries. The adverse impact of paraquat exposure has been documented worldwide.
It should be noted that Personal Protective Equipment advised for paraquat handling, in the hot and humid conditions of most countries where it is used and the long-hours of pesticide applications, is impractical and inhumane to wear. This highly hazardous chemical must be placed under control and governments must know where, how, and when this herbicide is used. Therefore, it is imperative that governments are informed about potential exports into their countries to enable them to exercise Prior Informed Consent in order to protect their most vulnerable citizens.
We ask governments to list paraquat dichloride 20% in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention and send a message to the world that you care about people’s health and the environment.