High pesticide levels in local food
NGOs call for law forcing industry to declare discharge of toxic substances
Recent research has disclosed that serious contamination from persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and herbicides in food and the environment poses health threats to the Thai public. The research, from Ecological Alert and Recovery – Thailand (EARTH) and Thailand Pesticide Alert Network (Thai-PAN), found that Samut Sakhon had the highest levels of dioxin contamination. The level of contaminants known as polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PBDD/Fs) was 33 times higher than European Union standards, Meanwhile, 46 per cent and 55 per cent respectively of fruit and vegetables were found to contain pesticides and herbicides.
The organisations said that toxic substances posed serious health threats and the authorities had not put enough measures and regulations in place to protect the public. Jindrich Petrlik , the executive director of the NGO, Arnika – Toxics and Waste Programme, said studies on POPs contamination in Thailand’s major industrial heartlands included an analysis by EARTH of 11 free-range eggs samples from six areas across the country in 2015 and 2016.
Petrlik said the researchers were shocked to find that the industrial area in Samut Sakhon’s Muang District had the second highest contamination of PBDD/Fs in the world. He explained that the team collected eggs from chickens that foraged freely in the study areas. The eggs were used as indicators of POPs contamination in the food cycle and environment of that area, and the analysis of one of two egg samples from Samut Sakhon found the dangerously high level of PBDD/Fs of up to 84.04 nanograms per kilogram.
Egg samples from Saraburi’s Ban Mo district had a level of PBDD/Fs at 11.73 nanograms per kilogram, and eggs from Prachin Buri’s Tha Thum district had 4.14 nanograms per kilogram – both higher than the EU standard of 2.50. According to EARTH, PBDD/Fs are among the most dangerous POPs and contribute to many negative impacts on human health. All areas that registered high levels of this toxic substance were in major industrial zones. Source: Asia Nation