UN-backed scientists push for ban on pesticide endosulfan

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A UN-backed committee of scientists said Monday it wants a ban on endosulfan, a highly toxic pesticide still used on crops including cotton, rice and tea in some countries including India.

A committee of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants said that it "recommended listing endosulfan in Annex A of the Convention, with specific exemptions, a move that would lead to its elimination from the global market."

Member states of the convention are due to meet in April 2011 to decide whether they will end the use of the highly toxic chemical, which is already banned in 60 countries due to its damaging impact on the nervous system.

The 2001 Stockholm treaty, which counts 172 signatories, originally covered 12 chemicals known as Persistent Organic Pollutants because they do not break down over time in the environment and accumulate in soil, water, the food chain and in human tissue or organs such as the liver.

It now covers a total of 21 chemicals, including the insecticide Lindane and pesticide DDT.

© 2010 AFP

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