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WHO asked India to Ban Pesticide that Killed Children in Bihar Mid-Day Meal

The United Nations Health agency, the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested India in 2009...

Jul 23, 2013 17:54 IST
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The United Nations Health agency, the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested India in 2009 to consider a ban on Monocrotophos, the pesticide blamed for the poisoning of mid day meal in Bihar on 16 July 2013.

The pesticide that killed 23 schoolchildren in Bihar's Chhapra district was banned in many countries as per the directions from the WHO, because of its high acute toxicity. However in India, Monocrotophos is widely used and easily available pesticide.

WHO had also warned that in India, against strong International health warnings, many pesticide containers are not thrown away after use but recycled and used for storing water, food and other consumables.

•    In Bihar's case, the children fell ill within minutes of eating their mid-day meal in their one-room primary school.
•    They started vomiting and convulsing with stomach pains - symptoms that experts say would be common in poisoning with such a toxic chemical.
•    Forensic investigation found the meal had been prepared with cooking oil that contained Monocrotophos.
According to WHO, swallowing just 120 milligrams of Monocrotophos can be fatal to humans. Initial symptoms of taking chemical are sweating, vomiting, blurred vision and foaming at the mouth.

About Monocrotophos
•    Monocrotophos – a substance that belongs to a family of chemicals called organophosphates that share a common mechanism of toxic action.
•    Monocrotophos affects the central nervous system by inhibiting cholinesterase, an enzyme essential for normal nerve impulse transmission.

The countries and regions that have banned monocrotophos use include Australia, Cambodia, China, the European Union, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and the US. Importing Monocrotophos is illegal in 46 countries.

 

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