One stop shop for information on internationally restricted chemicals

Contributed by Melanie Bateman, CABI Switzerland

mel blogTogether, the three conventions that govern chemicals and hazardous waste safety at the global level (the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions) have launched an online search tool for finding technical and scientific publications to support sound management of chemicals and waste: http://synergies.pops.int/Implementation/Publications/ScientificandTechnicalPublications/tabid/3790/language/en-US/Default.aspx

In particular, the member countries of these Conventions have singled out certain chemicals because of the harm that they can cause to human health and the environment. The online search tool makes it easy to access information on these chemicals, and it brings together information on management and risk reduction across the chemicals’ life cycles. With the click of a button, it is possible to access information on the production, trade, storage, use and safe disposal of these problematic pesticides and other chemicals.

Pesticides-L mailing list: creating a global conversation on pesticides issues

Written by Melanie Bateman, Integrated Crop Management Adviser, CABI Switzerland

plant clinicAs has been mentioned before in this blog, there are a staggering number of chemicals in the world – estimates go as high as 2 million different preparations for sale. This is a lot for regulators in any given country to assess and monitor for safety concerns, especially given the nature of many of the problems associated with pesticides. While symptoms of acute pesticide poisoning become apparent relatively rapidly after exposure, chronic effects such as cancer can be caused by repeated, low level exposure over extended periods of time. For these chronic problems, it is much more difficult to uncover the connections between the chemical and the disease.

International agreements such as the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions provide formal channels for information sharing on these issues between countries.

At a recent workshop on pest management and pesticide risk reduction, Mr David Kamangira, Senior Deputy Director in Zambia’s Department of Agricultural Research Services, offered up a suggestion for a grassroots approach for sharing information and staying informed about pesticides. He shared his experience with the “Pesticides-L” mailing list, an online forum for discussions regarding pesticides management issues. Moderated by Dr Andrea Rother of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine of the University of Cape Town, Pesticides-L is open to anyone with an interest in issues related to pesticides. Posts to the list cover topics ranging from research results on human health and environmental effects to policy debates to meeting announcements. The Pesticide-L mailing list is a rich information source and a valuable tool for linking together a global community of stakeholders such as researchers, NGO’s, chemical companies, policy makers, affected individuals, unions, farmers, community groups and government representatives. To subscribe to this list, email ‘pesticides-l-owner@lists.uct.ac.za’.

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Soil health issues cost African farmers $4 billion a year in lost crop productivity © Gates Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND)

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Increased awareness of side-effects has reduced post-harvest chemical use on Citrus © Rachel Jones (CC BY-NC)

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Two-wheel tractors are more affordable for small-scale farmers who want to benefit from the mechanisation of agriculture in South Asia © werktuigendagen (CC BY-SA)

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