PAN Vietnam welcomes the ban of chlorpyrifos and fipronil

Pesticides with chlorpyrifos ethyl and fipronil, found during a community pesticide action monitoring survey in North Vietnam. Photo Credit: CGFED

Three days ago, the Vietnamese government officially announced an immediate ban on products containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos-ethyl and fipronil. It is the first country in South East Asia to do so.

PAN Vietnam welcomes the Plant Protection Department under Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture’s decision to impose the ban to protect human health and the environment.

Around, 3,500 to 4,000 tonnes  of chlorpyrifos and fipronil are used each year in Vietnam.

“We are pleased by the move of the government of Vietnam that has prioritized the health of the Vietnamese people, and we encourage and look forward to more bans of highly hazardous pesticides in Vietnam,” said Nguyen Kim Thuy, Director of Research Centre for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED), one of the NGOs that forms the coalition of PAN Vietnam.

Thúy Nguyễn Kim also added, “This is particularly a significant victory as many rural farmers, women and children are exposed to chlorpyrifos and fipronil in their home environments.”

A recent report by PANAP and partners in Hai Hau District and Thai Nquyen District found the widespread use of highly hazardous pesticides including chlorpyrifos and fipronil in Vietnam. These pesticides were used under inappropriate conditions of use, such as the lack of personal protective equipment and vulnerability to accidental spillages, resulting in unacceptable adverse health effects. Women were the most vulnerable exhibited the most symptoms of pesticide poisoning.

However, the ministry would still allow the trade and use of the products for two years under the phase-out period upon imposing the ban.

Sarojeni Rengam, Executive Director of PANAP, said, “The announcement of the ban is great, but it should happen immediately without the two-year transition period.”

She added, “It should have happened sooner with chlorpyrifos as it is linked with derailed development in children, lowering of IQs and cancers. It is a tremendous step forward and we hope the government would adopt non-chemical alternatives such as agroecology agricultural practices.”

Earlier in 2017, highly hazardous weed killers like paraquat and 2,4-D were banned in Vietnam. Hoàng Trung, head of the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, was quoted in Viet Nam News as saying that many farmers have already shifted to using biological weed killers instead of chemical weed killers. He promised that the ministry will issue policies to encourage farmers to use more biological weed killers.

A 2015 report by PAN Vietnam has revealed that farmers in Vietnam are not aware of the long-term impacts of chlorpyrifos on health and environment. Pesticides sprayers are especially impacted due to poverty; chemicals– dependent livelihoods expose them on a daily basis to the many dangers of pesticides.

The prohibition on the use of chlorpyrifos and fipronil would most certainly safeguard many Vietnamese farmers, women, children and consumers from the detrimental effects of these two Highly Hazardous Pesticides.

For now, chlorpyrifos is banned in three countries and fipronil is banned in eight countries. This latest ban comes after many years of hard work of organizations like Research Center for Rural Development (RCRD), CGFED and Sustainable Rural Development collectively making PAN Vietnam.

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Reference: Deeppa Ravindran, PANAP’s Pesticide Programme Coordinator,