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Tuesday, 21 August, 2001, 21:48 GMT 22:48 UK
Kerala bans pesticide spray
India monsoon
People and animals can be affected by the spray
By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan in Thiruvananthapuram

Years of campaigning have borne fruit in the south Indian state of Kerala after the government stopped the spraying of Endosulfan pesticide over its cashew nut plantations.

An order signed by Chief Minister AK Antony has suspended the use of the chemical.

It has been used in Kerala for the past 23 years to counter the "tea mosquito".

But about a decade ago, suspicions arose that it caused health problems in humans and animals.

Government action followed talks between the chief minister and the Endosulfan Spray Protest Action Committee (Espac) of Perala village in the northern district of Kasaragode.

Liver disorders

Espac has campaigned for the past four years, highlighting the damage caused by the chemical in several villages of the district.

It says the spray has caused widespread health problems including cancers, liver disorders and hormonal problems.

A recent study at Perala by the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) showed that people and animals were affected after aerial spraying of Endosulfan.

The study showed that Endosulfan could cause serious harm to human blood cells even in tiny amounts.

Several countries have already completely banned the spray and Kerala is expected to join the list once the government inquiry is complete.

See also:

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