The Price of Indonesia’s Palm Oil: Vulnerable and Exploited Women Workers

In 2016, the Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PANAP) collaborated with a local organisation for a preliminary investigation on the working conditions of women labourers in North Sumatra’s oil palm industry, using the Community-based Pesticide Action Monitoring (CPAM) process. This report contains the key findings, which found that Indonesia’s expanding palm oil industry comes with a cost – women workers who are vulnerable to serious labour and human rights violations.

Date Published:
April 28, 2017

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Pesticides and Agroecology in the Occupied West Bank

This is the second of a two-part report on the the key findings and conclusions of a joint fact-finding mission by PANAP and APN in May 2016 in the Occupied West Bank on the human rights implications of the Israeli illegal production, trade and dumping of pesticides. This report explains how human rights violations and threats to Palestinian food sovereignty are perpetrated in the context of the Israeli military border control and illegal occupation, in which Palestinian agriculture is embedded.

Date Published:
February 20, 2017

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To access the first part of this report, please click here.

Human Rights and Toxic Chemicals in the Occupied West Bank (Palestine)

This is the first of a two-part report on the the key findings and conclusions of a joint fact-finding mission by PANAP and APN in May 2016 in the Occupied West Bank on the human rights implications of the Israeli illegal production, trade and dumping of pesticides. This report highlights the five human rights abuses perpetrated against Palestinians resulting from Israeli illegal pesticide activities and the culpability of the Israeli state and agrochemical corporations.

Date Published:
February 20, 2017

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To access the second part of this report, please click here.

Global Governance of Hazardous Pesticides to Protect Children: Beyond 2020

This paper outlines PAN Asia Pacific’s concern about the impact of hazardous pesticides on children, and the need for greatly improved global governance of pesticides post 2020, to protect the rights of children and to meet the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030 during the 1st meeting of the intersessional process, Brasilia, Brazil, 7 to 9 February 2017.

Date Published:
February 2, 2017

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Community Pesticide Action Monitoring in Mindanao, Philippines

A field study to document the use of pesticides in Mindanao and its health impacts using the Community-based Pesticide Action Monitoring (CPAM) process was conducted from 2015 to 2016. A total of 57 plantation workers from banana and oil palm plantations and residents from surrounding villages were interviewed. The report discloses the workers’ lack of safety training in handling pesticides, the lack of facilities and personal protective equipment, and the prevalence of pesticide-related illnesses among workers and their households. Plantation workers and surrounding communities are also exposed to aerial spraying.

Date Published:
January 1, 2017

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A Pesticide Free Buffer Zone Needed in Po Ampil Primary School, Takeo Province, Cambodia

Po Ampil School, in Takeo Province. Photo by Maran Perianen

“We smelled something bad and ran out of classes. Some of us had headaches, felt like vomiting and felt dizzy” said students of Po Ampil School, Takeo Province, Cambodia. They experienced these symptoms after the field near by their classrooms were sprayed by pesticides. Almost 30 students reported these symptoms. Over the years, school children have been poisoned by pesticides. In 2014, teachers from Po Ampil School approached Keam Makarady of CEDAC to conduct awareness workshops for children, and teachers. Teachers were concerned about dangers of pesticides after attending the No Pesticide Use Week event organized by CEDAC.

School is surrounded by farms. Photo by Maran Perianen
Google map of Po Ampil Primary School. CEDAC monitored the pesticides used in various villages in Sambour commune. Pesticides found include chlorpyrifos, glyphosate, lamda-cyhalothrin and cypermethrin, which have been linked to harmful effects on growing children. Children have been reported to be poisoned by pesticides during schooling hours in Po Ampil Primary School which is surrounded by farms. Annex 1 has a full list of pesticides found.

The past two years, No Pesticide Use Week Campaign has been aimed to protect our children from toxic pesticides (POC). Workshops on POC were held at Po Ampil primary school, Takeo province to highlight the impacts of pesticides that were found in the school during the campaign. There were 69 people (30 women) who participated in this event including farmers, students, teacher and local authorities.

Children are more vulnerable to pesticides, as per unit body weight they breathe more air, eat more food and drink more water. Long term impacts of pesticide exposure are linked to childhood cancer, autism, lowering of I.Q and other learning disorders among children.

Children in rural areas are often more vulnerable to the exposure to pesticides as they walk barefoot and are more exposed to pesticides than urban children.

Pesticide poisonings have been a growing concern in Cambodia, where more than 400 children were poisoned by pesticides last year due to contaminated sandwiches.

Photo: Maran Perianen

“Our school located in Po village, Sambour commune, Traing district, Takeo province. The school is surrounded by paddy fields and rice is harvested three times a year. There are a lot of pest attacks during the cultivation of rice and many types of pesticides are being sprayed to control pest. The use of pesticides has affected the environment, the people and my students as well. My students have reported feeling dizzy, nauseated and some were not well. After the incident, I shared my concerns with the local authorities and the surrounding farmers. As a result, they only spray on Sunday to protect the children during schooling hours.” – Teacher of Po Ampil School. Video Link

Discussion are underway for pesticide free buffer zones in this school among CEDAC and the teachers.

School children of Po Ampil expressed their concerns about the harmful effects of pesticides during the POC workshop in 2015. Photo by CEDAC.

When local farmers were interviewed by CEDAC and PANAP many of them expressed that they were not aware of other alternatives. One farmers said “We sell our rice Vietnamese wholesalers as they are near to the borders.” High yielding rice varieties grown by the farmers require more chemical fertilizer and pesticides use as they are more prone to pest attacks as compared to local varieties said Keam Makarday.

Many of the famers interviewed said they were also poisoned in various degrees. One farmer had to go all the way to Vietnam to seek medical treatment. New plans are on the way to engage the community in Takeo on agroecology practices to protect the children and environment against pesticides.

Annex 1: List of pesticides sold and used in Takeo
Annex 1: List of pesticides sold and used in Takeo

Table Legends

WHO class 1a : Extremely Hazardous
WHO class 1b : Highly Hazardous
EU R26: very toxic by inhalation (R26) according to EU Directive 67/548 5
Muta (EU 1,2): substances known to be mutagenic to man (category 1) / substances which should be regarded as if they are mutagenic to man (category 2), according to EU Directive 67/548
Repro (EU 1,2): substances known to impair fertility in humans (Category 1) / substances which should be regarded as if they impair fertility in humans and/or substances which should be regarded as if they cause developmental toxicity to humans (category 2), according to EU Directive 67/548
EU EDC= endocrine disruptor
ChE Inh= cholesterase inhibitor

vB: very bio accumulative, according to REACh criteria as listed by FOOTPRINT (BCF>5000)
vP: very persistent, according to REACh criteria as listed by FOOTPRINT (half-life > 60 d in marine – or freshwater of half-life >180 d in marine or freshwater sediment

HHP = listed on highly hazardous pesticide list
T20 = listed on 20 terrible pesticides that are toxic to children

Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) Towards The Use of Chlorpyrifos and Paraquat and Their Impact On Human Health and The Environment

Short Description:
Though the two pesticides paraquat and chlorpyrifos are highly toxic and widely used in Vietnam’s agriculture, their adverse impacts on people, animals, beneficial insects andthe environment find no mention in the training courses on pesticide use in agriculture conducted by government agencies. The media meanwhile day and night advertise the “benefits” of using these chemicals, which leads to their overuse and resistance by pests, and consequently an increase in plant diseases. Even so, farmers who grow rice, fruit and vegetables have generally depended on these pesticides to “ensure good yields”. To know more about the processes by which farmers learn about these chemicals and use them in the field, it is necessary to study their ‘knowledge, attitude and practice’ (KAP) in using pesticides in general and paraquat and chlorpyrifos in particular. The result of the study will reflect how farmers use the chemicals, as well as help find out the factors that influence their choice of highly poisonous chemicals with harmful impacts on human health and the environment.

Date Published:
July 27, 2016

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A Community-based Pesticide Action Monitoring Report by the Hai Hau’s Women’s Pioneer Group, Women’s Union of Hai Hau & CGFED

Short Description:
Since 2010, women in Hai Hau have been part of an ongoing training and awareness raising activities on pesticides risk reduction, community-based pesticide monitoring (CPAM) and agroecological methods and leadership. Some of them later formed the Women’s Pioneer Group in Hai Hau district with the support of the Women’s Union of Hai Hau district. Concerned about the impacts of pesticides on their community, about 30 key farmers from 10 communes from the group conducted a CPAM survey on 300 farmers (126 males and 194 females) and pesticide sellers. This was their first attempt to have women farmers undertake a CPAM survey for local advocacy. The survey was conducted in an area in Hai Hau where high-yielding rice and vegetables are grown.

Date Published:
December 30, 2015

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Conditions of paraquat use in India

Short Description:
Paraquat is widely used under high-risk conditions in India. Problems of poverty are exacerbated by the exposure to this highly hazardous pesticide, as users have no means to protect themselves or obtain relevant information. In some places paraquat is sold in plastic carrying bags; many users can’t read the label; it is mixed with other ingredients that are not recommended; it is sprayed with leaking knapsack sprayers; and it is applied on crops for which its use has not been approved. This study shows again that “safe use” of highly hazardous pesticides in daily practice, in developing countries and countries in transition, is an illusion. The study also shows that the use of paraquat in India violates the International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management, and that the manufacturers, distributors and relevant authorities in India have a duty to rectify this situation. Farmers use paraquat in their fields for controlling weeds. A total of 14 commercial names of paraquat dichloride have been found to be sold in the study sites. It is being used in about 25 crops (in the study area) including cereals, pulses, oil seeds, vegetables and cash crops while the Central Insecticide Board & Registration Committee (CIBRC) has approved its use in only nine crops. Farmers buy and use paraquat in an unsafe manner. It was found that paraquat is sold in plastic carry bags to farmers who demand 100ml or 200ml of the product. Neither the retailers recommend personal protective measures while handling paraquat nor do the farmers adopt them. Particularly, when it is sold in plastic carry bags the risk of exposure and poisoning is higher through spillage, inhalation as well as contact.

Date Published:
April 23, 2015

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Illegal Pesticide Trade in the Mekong Countries: Case Studies from Cambodia and Lao PDR


The two studies here – “Illegal pesticides in Cambodia” (2011) and “Illegal pesticide trade in Mekong countries: Case of Lao PDR” ( 2011 to 2013) focus on problems of pesticide regulation, trade in banned and illegal pesticides, use of inappropriate labels on products, health and environmental effects of these pesticides, etc. The studies share several broad similarities, which are also common to many other developing countries in South-East Asia. They were conducted in two areas in Cambodia, bordering Vietnam and Thailand, and three areas in Lao PDR, bordering Thailand, Myanmar, China and Vietnam from 2011 to 2013.

Date Published:
December 18, 2013

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