Threats and a ban

  • 14/07/2002

The Philippines banned endosulfan in 1992. The industry led by Hoechst of Germany launched an offensive. It filed contempt proceedings against the Philippine Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority's (FPA), which imposed the ban. It also harassed field workers who came forward with their personal experiences about exposure to endosulfan. The ban was successfully challenged by the industry.

In 1993, a subsidiary of Hoechst, AG, of Germany, filed another lawsuit against a news agency, Philippine News and Features, that ran a story on the possible carcinogenic nature of the insecticide, Thiodan (Hoechst's trade name for endosulfan formulation). Even a scientist quoted in the story, Romeo Quijano, was sued for over US $814,800, according to Pesticide Action Network (PAN), a global anti-pesticide body.

Citizen and farmers groups got together to fight back. They were outraged that anyone coming out in the open about the effects of pesticides was slapped with a lawsuit. Activists were also disturbed by media offensive initiated by Hoechst's regional subsidiary that portrayed pesticide products as safe.

In March 1994, the Philippine government ordered Hoechst to withdraw its television advertisement on Thiodan calling it "false, misleading and deceptive'. On June 1, 1994, the government reinstated its restrictions on endosulfan sales and banned triphenyltin acetate, despite threats by Hoechst that it would pull out of the country if the decision were not reversed. The ban still holds on the use of endosulfan, except for use in pineapple farms.

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