Del Monte pulls out endosulfan – FPA –

The Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA) has confirmed the complete pull-out of endosulfan by Del Monte Philippines Inc. from its chemicals even ahead of the expiry of its authorization as restricted user, an FPA official said.

Danilo Negre, FPA provincial coordinator, said as of his last plant
inspection in the first week of November 2008, the company had
completed the gradual pullout of the chemical following the province’s passage of an
ordinance banning the use and transport of the chemical in Bukidnon.

Bukidnon banned endosulfan in August 2008 at the height of investigations on
the sinking of Sulpicio Lines’ M/V Princess of the Stars.

The ill-fated ship that sank on June 20, 2008 carried 10,000 kilos of
endosulfan reported to be enough for Del Monte’s one year supply.

The city of Malaybalay has also passed a resolution urging the FPA not to
renew its authorization for endosulfan upon its expiration.

The pullout came ahead of the December 31, 2008 expiration of the 3-year
authorization issued by the FPA Board to DMPI and Dole, allowing the
companies restricted use of the chemical since 1993, Negre told MindaNews
on February 4.

A DMPI official who asked not to be quoted has confirmed the pull out in a text message to MindaNews Wednesday night.

“We no longer use endosulfan…that’s our commitment and that’s what we did,” he said, adding, they have already issued a press release about it last year. He is yet to send a copy of the press release to this reporter.

Negre said the firm now uses actellic and orthos, identified as alternatives
to endosulfan.   But actellic is more commonly used, Negre added.

He described the chemicals as less effective to control mites that cause
pink diseases, so there is a need for more dosage.

“It is more expensive, too.  But it is safer (than endosulfan),” he added.

He said the two chemicals are still “environmentally hazardous” although not
as much as endosulfan.

He said unlike endosulfan, actellic and orthos are non-POPs (persistent
organic pollutants). POPs, such as endosulfan,  are chemical substances that
persist in the environment, bio-accumulates through the food web, and pose a
risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment

In August 2008, Sonia Calleja, FPA 10 regional director identified the two
as “possible viable alternatives” although she cited some problems on

Glenn Peduche, chair of the Bukidnon Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s committee on
environmental protection confirmed the pull out.

But Peduche said the total pull out was on December 31, not earlier than November.

“If it’s true (pull out), well I’m happy to hear that… One less environmental problem
on our shoulders,” said Councilor Melchor Maramara, who chairs the committee
on environmental protection of the Malaybalay City Council.

DMPI used endosulfan in its at least 27,000 hectares of pineapple plantation
in Bukidnon, including a portion in Malaybalay City.

Agricultural companies have been using endosulfan, first sold in the
Philippines in the 1960s.

It has been found effective in controlling mites that cause the pink disease
in pineapples. A suspected endocrine disruptor; endosulfan has been linked
to autism, birth defects and abnormalities.

In 1993, it was restricted for institutional use in the Philippines.

The chemical has been considered for global elimination under the U.N.
Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants or the Stockholm Convention to
which the Philippines is a signatory.

The FPA decided to phase out endosulfan from the market because of its
toxicity and as an aquatic pollutant.