Thailand bans use of paraquat and other toxic farm chemicals


BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's government has agreed to ban the use of three farming chemicals widely regarded as dangerous to human health.

The government's National Hazardous Substances Committee voted Tuesday to put the herbicides paraquat and glyphosate and the insecticide chlorpyrifos in the category of banned chemicals, automatically barring their use under existing law.

The ban takes effect Dec. 1.

The ban, proposed by the Agriculture Ministry, had met with strong opposition from some farmers groups and academics, who argued that the chemicals were not unacceptably dangerous and banning their use would drive up farmer's costs significantly.

The use of paraquat, especially, has been sharply debated worldwide. Farm workers are at particular risk from the toxic chemical, which can cause immediate death through ingestion as well as chronic health problems from other contact.