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    New Campaign: Stop Exporting Banned Pesticides!

    New Campaign: Stop Exporting Banned Pesticides!
    19/04/2022 Yali Banton Heath

    In 2020, the UK Government authorised the export of over 12,000 tonnes of UK-manufactured toxic pesticides that are currently banned for use in the UK country due to the serious risks they pose to human health and the environment.

    Loopholes in international trade law are allowing for companies like Syngenta to continue manufacturing these harmful agrochemicals and exporting them to countries where their use is permitted. But weaker regulations, untranslated user instructions and a lack of adequate PPE means that farmers in many of the importing countries are at dangerous risk of exposure, long-term health problems and fatal poisoning.

    Today we’re launching a new campaign to demand that the UK Government ends these double standards on pesticide trade.

    As a recent investigation by Unearthed and Public Eye revealed, the majority of the UK’s banned pesticide exports are shipments of the toxic herbicide Paraquat, manufactured by chemical giant Syngenta in their Huddersfield factory. Since it was first put on the market by British company Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in 1962, tens of thousands of people – including many children – have died from ingesting Paraquat, and in 2007 the UK finally banned it for domestic use; so why is it still allowing it to be manufactured on UK and exported elsewhere?

    It’s because the UK’s standards on pesticide trade are riddled hypocrisy when it comes to protecting the rights and wellbeing of those who produce our food. If a pesticide is considered to be too dangerous to be used by farmers in this country – where we have access adequate PPE and are supported by proper health and safety standards – then it is undeniably too dangerous for farmers in other countries, too, who often don’t have such protections. It’s time the UK Government recognised this.

    To make matters worse, as outlined in Sustain and Pesticide Action Network’s recent Toxic Trade report the the UK Government is currently pushing for increased trade with Brazil – a country where Paraquat use is permitted, and where it has caused more deaths in the past decade than any other pesticide permitted for use.

    A new trade deal with Brazil could end up lowering UK import standards, meaning that not only would UK consumers be eating food laced with toxic pesticide residues, but UK farmers would be undercut by lower import standards, while the deadly risks of pesticide use are exported onto food producers in other countries. 

    We want the UK Government to stop authorising the export of these deadly pesticides, and to ensure that any future trade deals don’t weaken the UK’s food import standards with regard to toxic pesticide residue.

    We’re asking our members and supporters to use our online letter-writing platform to email the UK Government with these demands. Want to take action? Click here to send your own letter. 

    LWA Northern Branch are also organising a solidarity demo on May 7th in Huddersfield to raise the profile of the issue and put pressure on the Government to take action. For more information on how to get involved please email Yali on yali.bantonheath@landworkersalliance.org.uk.

     

    You can read our policy brief: ‘Chemical Exports: Why the UK Must Stop Exporting and Importing Harmful Pesticides’ by clicking here.

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