Likewise, Padre from which the study population is drawn has a sex ratio of 970. Especially so if high tech endpoints like studies of hormones, DNA mutation and concentration of toxins in nanogram levels are to be measured. Then there are villages far from the cashew plantations which also see a high rate of disease, such as Mogral Puthur. Its residues spread far and wide via wind and rain, leaving a trail of destruction in the district and neighbouring regions of Karnataka, killing more than 1,00… The people living inside the plantations and downwind and downstream of the experiment were exposed to this hazardous chemical for 25 years. The National Institute Occupational Health (Indian Council of Medical Research) says that after studying various aetiological factors responsible for health problem was aerial spraying of Endosulfan.” www.endosulfanvictims.org. As activists exchanged notes, they realised these symptoms were confined to Kasaragod, the sole district where endosulfan was aerially sprayed. The exposure can be to an agent in environment, a microbe, a chemical (endosulfan, tobacco smoke), heavy metals like cadmium or a physical agent like ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. A government doctor who worked in Kasargod for six years, said, “In my panchayat of 22,000 people, no more than 300 people had diseases. This means higher endosulfan levels did not lead to higher rates of disease. Sign up to receive interesting long form stories of Politics, Environmental Samples – soil, water, sediments, cashew leaves – these are indices of contaminations. Some people have been exposed through all four pathways and they will be in the high dose category. The Kerala government has imposed a complete ban on the use of the pesticide endosulfan, which is alleged to have led to congenital deformities and even deaths in the state’s Kasargod district. National Institute of Occupational Health,Ahmedabad, India 12: Raj, M.A.A., 2010. By the time the ban was imposed in 2001, he was convinced they weren’t. After the toxicity of the pesticide came into limelight in 2001 in Kasargod District, Kerala banned it. S Mohammed Irshad. The Government of Kerala Committee’s study was headed by Dr Sukumaran and included experts in medicine, cancer epidemiology, environmental sciences and agricultural sciences. Ahmedabad, India:National Institute of Occupational Health. Tea plantations, paddy and fruit orchards in other areas of Kerala also used this pesticide administered via aerial spraying or manual pumps. Narendra Modi has declared war on black money. But let them not say it is based on science, because the science on which [it is] based is junk,” he says. From the studies carried out by scientists such as Laabs and Kennedy, we can picture the following scenario: Endosulfan falling on leaves would degrade within a mere 15 days in the hot weather of Kasargod, unlike other POPs such as DDT. In the case of most of the diseases in PCK impacted villages, reliable local or state level data is not available. Environmental samples like soil, lake sediments and drinking water were analyzed for the concentration of endosulfan products. Kasaragod district, Kerala in four different phases to assess the contamination by endosulfan applied on cashew plantations. Activist groups were quick to jump at the Convention’s decision to justify their claims that Kerala’s diseases were caused by endosulfan. (P 46) In the paper published in the Environmental Health Perspective a year later, the compared population is referred to as the control group. The first group consists of the inhabitants of the polluted territory. More than 3000 people living near, downstream and downwind of the estate were affected by debilitating rare diseases like mental retardation, cerebral palsy, cancer etc. This study, published in 2011, was no huge improvement. Despite government promises, official efforts to … This is confirmed by Bruce Pyke, an official from Australia’s Cotton Development Corporation Council. According to them, POPs are toxic. The case of the endosulfan disaster that occurred in Kasargod, Kerala can be accounted to environmental harms which detrimentally affected the environment and its units, especially humans. CONTINUING DISASTER OF ENDOSULFAN IN KASARGOD AND KANNUR DISTRICTS OF KERALA, Between 1976 and 2000, more than 50,000 villagers of Kasargod district in Kerala, India have been exposed to endosulfan, a persistent organic pesticide, sprayed on the cashew plantations owned by the Plantation Corporation of Kerala. Cattles with congenital anomalies and cancers are more likely to be sold for slaughter. During 1976-2000, the Plantation Corporation of Kerala flew some 65 sorties and aerially sprayed endosulfan, a persistent organic pollutant (POP) over an area of about 12000 acres in nine villages in Kasargod district. There is a high incidence of disorders of the central nerves system, Cancer and reproductive disorders. Environ Health Perspect. After the toxicity of the pesticide came into limelight in 2001 in Kasargod District, Kerala banned it. India was one of the biggest producers & consumers of endosulfan. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. According to Naik, doctors in Kasargod are confused because they have no scientific guidelines to identify victims. Then again, aerial spraying is different from hand spraying, say activists. The suffering caused by years of endosulfan use on cashew plantations in Kerala's Kasaragod district is well known: birth defects, high rates of mental retardation, and delayed puberty, in addition to the hundreds of deaths directly attributed to the antiquated insecticide. For 25 years, till 2002, the Plantation Corporation of Kerala had sprayed the pesticide on its land. He is one of the few people willing to go on record against what he calls ‘one of the biggest scientific frauds’ he has seen. Rate of infertility in cattle was 4 times higher in the reference area. They submitted their preliminary report in 2001 and final report in 2003 to the National Human Rights Commission. of India banned the sale and use of Endosulfan in Kerala from 2005 onwards. Endosulfan a pesticide used mainly in cashew plantation is a highly toxic endocrine disrupter and a contact stomach poison. Suskumaran committee report is mirrored on the website of the Endosulfan Relief and Rehabilitation Council. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. As of today, the endosulfan issue is more of a political debate than a scientific one. Immediate relief and a permanent solution on the financial compensation are the primary need of this group of stakeholders. Journal of American Medical Association. Sayed Habibulla was the principal investigator. Study of human blood samples for concentration of endosulfan and levels of hormones of thyroid, growth and reproduction. “But this could be due to some other reason that we don’t know. Prone to long-range atmospheric transport, Endosulfan linked to serious health disorders in the citizens residing in these areas. Their results could have been radically different if the comparison groups were students with and without body burden of endosulfan. When they are asleep at night, a burglar breaks in. The Investigation of Unusual Illnesses Allegedly Produced by Endosulfan Exposure in Padre Village of Kasargod District (N. Kerala). Endosulfan was detected in only 2 samples out of 22 water samples analysed during the second phase of sampling. Lump sums of up to Rs 5 lakh, a monthly social-security allowance of Rs 1,700 and medical treatment were given to around 4,000 patients. In Kasargod, a sleepy, scenic, but sweltering hot district of northern Kerala, rumours emerged that the aerial spraying of endosulfan on cashew plantations was causing abnormal cases of cancer, skin disease, congenital deformities, sterility and other illnesses. File image. This is a major political issue now, and Kerala’s political parties ignore it in the upcoming elections at their own peril. Abstract Between 1976 and 2000, more than 50,000 villagers of Kasargod district in Kerala, India have been exposed to endosulfan, a persistent organic pesticide, sprayed on the cashew plantations owned by the Plantation Corporation of Kerala. Majority of the exposed people and the victims lived far away from the sprayed area and were not subjected to aerial exposure. No living animal can survive such poisoning. So far, several hundred crore have been disbursed to so-called endosulfan victims in Kerala, with very little proof that the pesticide was indeed the cause. Plantaions Muliyar, Periye, Enmakaje, Cheemeni and Pedre were sprayed with endosulfan continously. The events of Kasargod played a role in this decision, with green groups such as Pesticide Action Network and Thanal campaigning worldwide with horror-inducing pictures. Unlike in the case of aerial exposure, distance from the plantation may not be a good indicator of the concentration in water. The endosulfan controversy first began in the late 1990s. Environmental samples like soil, lake sediments and drinking water were analyzed for the concentration of endosulfan products. But that is not all that is wrong with the CMC study. Goiter incidence was higher among girls in the study area. India can well choose to accept the Stockholm Convention’s decision and discontinue the use of endosulfan as a precautionary measure. Only then can it be said that endosulfan causes cancer in rats. “If they want to give compensation as a precautionary measure for political reasons, let them say so. SC also directed the Kerala government to pay Rs 500 crores as compensation to over 5,000 victims. The pesticide endosulfan was sprayed aerially for around 25 years in cashew plantations situated in Kasargod and caused severe diseases and extensive malformations among people living in the region. Important points – Kasargod District. Thus they concluded that “some of the reports in the press have shown congenital malformations and other problems in the cattle. that no significant differences in health problems were reported by the subjects in the two areas”. From the final report of NIOH: “ Our analysis of family data do not support the observations of Dr. Mohan Kumar with respect to high incidence of cancers, asthma, dermatitis and suicides. Men and women in this area are now finding it difficult to find spouses, as stories of their tainted genes get around. As a result, in the first few medical camps, anyone could walk in and get government aid. This was to eradicate tea mosquitoes in the cashew plantations. Since endosulfan can cause mutation, the impacts of exposure during 1980-2000 will be felt several decades and even generations later. Even suicide victims, who swallow endosulfan deliberately, have less than 10 parts per million in their blood. But this is merely a reconstruction. Mean reduction of 200 gm in birth weight. 11, 14 Mar, 2015. Saiyed H, Dewan A, Bhatnagar V, Shenoy U, Shenoy R, Rajmohan H, … Because of the difference between the age structure and the sex ratio between the study and reference samples and population in Kasargod villages, extrapolation of the findings in this study to the total exposed population may not be possible. NHRC and the governments ignored the main recommendation to undertake a full-length, detailed long term epidemiological study of all exposed persons. This group has been exposed through all the pathways listed above and can hence be considered as the highly exposed group. For over 20 years, cashew plantations in Kasargod district in Kerala used Endosulfan as a pesticide. 29. It only means that the system of classifying BPL people needs to be improved.”. What if we look at examples of endosulfan sprayed elsewhere in India? The age and gender composition of the NIOH sample is given in table 3. Formed in 1984 May 24; Kasargod became part of Kannur district of Kerala at the time of formation of Kerala in November 1, 1956. Government doctors admit this, saying they experience pressure to include people in the endosulfan- affected list. Exposed parents’ children born several years after the accident suffered significantly. When I ask him what biological plausibility means, he points to studies in rats and mice where endosulfan has been shown to produce cancers and reproductive disorders. Kasaragod district, Kerala in four different phases to assess the contamination by endosulfan applied on cashew plantations. Between 1976 and 2000, more than 50,000 villagers of Kasargod district in Kerala, India have been exposed to endosulfan, apersistent organic pesticide, sprayed on Study on the environmental pollution control of some pesticides and insecticides in soil by using bacteriae. Keshava Naik, a civil surgeon who has worked in Kasargod for almost 20 years, says that before 2000, the government was only offering treatment for the endosulfan-affected. Study of goitre and auto-immune thyroiditis among women in reproductive age groups living in the ‘local area’ of the Madras Atomic Power Plant – under consideration for publication, Study of cancer and genetic effects among the scientists and workers of three nuclear power plants in India – under publication, Review of official genetic studies conducted among the survivors of atom bombs in Hiroshima- Nagasaki – under editorial consideration. Under the existing legal framework, the is payment can only be decided by a tribunal or a court. I have no problem with that. Environmentalists and denizens of this district began to believe this spray was slowly poisoning people. It takes a while for Mohammed Asheel to admit this, but he does: “To be frank, in phase 1 camps, identifying victims was left to the discretion of the doctors, because we were unaware of all the diseases that can be related to endosulfan.” According to Asheel, doctors may have exercised their ‘humanitarian discretion’ and not just their medical discretion. While the focus earlier was on Padre village, the health impacts are evident in people of nearly 11 panchayats in the district. The Supreme Court has ordered to give Rs.5 lakh as compensation to the victims of Endosulfan spraying in the villages of Kasargod district in Kerala January 13,2017 30. plantation covering several villages in Kasargod district, Kerala. It means that endosulfan is classified along with notorious pesticides such as DDT and Dieldrin because of certain characteristics—a tendency to remain in soil without degrading for long periods of time, to accumulate in the bodies of living organisms, and to travel across long distances and cause harm to living beings. NIOH study suffers from two serious design defects, which are being discussed below. Likewise, endosulfan was not detected in blood samples from 15% of the females and 23% of the males in the study population. There were three exposure groups in NIOH study – (a) no exposure (b) low dose exposure and (c) high dose exposure. ( Log Out /  In the first three or four years, water bodies in the sprayed areas were not covered, and only after local people protested did the company start distributing covers for wells and informing villagers in advance. All the environmental media studied have been contaminated with endosulfan. In one of the several emails exchanged with me before we met, he proclaimed in capital letters, ‘The endosulfan king is naked.’. Crispin Halsall of the Lancaster Environment Centre in the UK, who advised the Convention on its decision, agrees that endosulfan behaves differently in tropical climates. Details are given below: NIOH did find some statistically significant increases in some health problems in the study population. (1). Sreekumar’s point is that no one has made an attempt to scientifically study the real reasons that may have contributed to such spikes in disease rates. Sitting behind a desk covered with stacks of paper in Kasargod’s Kerala Agricultural University, is Kinavoor Madathil Sreekumar, an associate professor of entomology—the study of pests and pest control. ( Log Out /  Among the very first was a study by the Delhi-based environmental activist group Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). The sex ratio (males per 1000 females) in Meencha village from which the reference sample is drawn is 989. In this case, India can look towards Australia, another hot country, for a real-life example. Now, the Indian press is reporting another cluster of endosulfan-induced disease a couple hundred miles There is a high incidence of disorders of the central nerves system, Cancer and reproductive disorders. Jacquleen Joseph. NIOH “study was scientifically planned, designed, and carried out by a team of experts, which included epidemiologists, physicians, pediatricians, medical toxicologists, statisticians, analytical chemists, and biochemists, who have years of experience in conducting such studies and have many publications to their credit.” The subjects of the study were students of two schools – one located in village Padre and the other in village Meenja. An Invisible Disaster. Kasaragod district, Kerala in four different phases to assess the contamination by endosulfan applied on cashew plantations. But these would not be statistically significant. By this token, there are hundreds of chemicals that we use daily that show similar inconclusive signs of carcinogenicity. And the anomalies listed by the campaigners and the health problems reported in NIOH study were different. From NIOH report: “Our major criteria for the selection of reference population was the similarity (in) ethnic background, climate, food habits, occupations, crops and socio-economic status and, of endosulfan. This means that the exposed group should be compared with a comparable unexposed group, which will be known as the control group. This is a complete study of a small sample of the exposed population. An epidemiological study compares the disease burden or incidence of selected diseases, abnormalities two or more population groups. So everyone in Kasargod must have fallen sick due to endosulfan. The team also used satellite images of the study area to assess the stream flows. To study the endosulfan degrading microorganisms, 20 soil samples were collected from five different cashew plantations having a history of endosulfan applications. To prove it, longer more complicated studies such as case-control studies or cohort studies would have to be conducted. By 2001, the issue became big enough for the Kerala government to ban endosulfan. But absence of proof is not proof of absence, argues Asheel. Here again, the sample should be comparable with the larger exposed population. SR is aberrant in the reference area also with 1080 boys in 0-9 years (male excess) and 842 (male deficit) in age group 10-19. Our preliminary inquiry in this matter is showed that no significant differences in health problems were reported by the subjects in the two areas”. Study of occupational health of workers exposed to ionizing radiation in the Aluva plant of the Indian Rare Earths. And the occurrence of several diseases in villages close to the sprayed plantations is below this threshold. Several of the people being compensated today have diseases that have nothing to do with endosulfan, such as deafness and diabetes. In the absence of a detailed epidemiological study, the cases for compensation of the victims and for a permanent ban of the molecule will be. The WHO, therefore, concludes that there isn’t enough data to say malathion is carcinogenic. The study has two major design defects – (1) Endosulfan was found in soil samples and blood samples from the reference villages also. In the DDT case, pesticide manufacturers argued against data demonstrating its harmful effects, and resisted a ban for years. Concentration of endosulfan in the top 7.5 cm of soil from Meencha was five times higher than in the study area. Usually such data are converted into rates (per 100 or 1000 or 100,000) and rates in exposed and unexposed populations are compared using an analytical software. Asheel also shares another study that links prostate cancer among men with exposure to several pesticides such as endosulfan and DDT. NIOH study sample consisted of less than 2% of the people chronically exposed to endosulfan continuously for twenty years. Recognising this blooper, the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) carried out another study in 2003 to determine if the problems in Kasargod were indeed caused by endosulfan. Kasaragod district, Kerala in four different phases to assess the contamination by endosulfan applied on cashew plantations. The pesticide was banned by the state govt after its widespread use in Kasargod harmed many. In response to the many flaws in the NIOH study, the Calicut Medical College (CMC) was commissioned to undertake a study with guidance from India’s reputed Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). There are serious design defects in this study and these might make any extrapolation of the findings to the total exposed communities impossible. Aerial spraying is not aerial exposure. Meanwhile, the truly ill will never know the real cause of their diseases, as endosulfan has been turned into everyone’s favourite whipping boy. We therefore selected Meenja Panchayat area as control. Later Kasargod was divided into two Taluks for the ease of administration - Kasargod and Hosdurg. He went on to have led to the marginalisation of the report of many instances where the pesti- communities exposed to endosulfan in District of Kerala. “Not many people were coming forward for treatment then,” he says. 2.Sampling Problem with the study populations. The nodal medical officer of Kasargod district, who played a key role in Kerala’s campaign against the pesticide endosulfan, refuses to answer my questions until I see a slide-show on the toxic effects of this chemical. Studies conducted after the ban of the pesticide show significantly higher concentration of endosulfan products in environmental media like water, soil and lake sediments and human blood, even in a village 25 km away from the sprayed area. A raging controversy has been going on about the aerial spraying of Endosulfan, an organochlorine, pesticide in the cashew plantations of Enmakaje Panchayat in Kasargod district of Kerala and its role in the causation of high morbidity and greater prevalence of congenital malformations and malignancies in the area. File image. The NIOH study did establish that “aerial exposure” to high doses (of) endosulfan was the aetiological factor responsible” for the anomalies they observed. While NIOH study was in-depth and high-tech, Sivaraman committees work was very extensive. STUDY OF EFFECT OF ENDOSULFAN IN INDIA . Biological Samples- Analysis of human blood samples – CSE and NIOH studies showed positive results even after two years of ban on aerial spray. Take malathion for example, a very old pesticide known to be relatively safe for humans. Paediatricians examined the willing subjects for assessing the sexual maturity. The case of the endosulfan disaster that occurred in Kasargod, Kerala can be accounted to environmental harms which detrimentally affected the environment and its units, especially humans. This study has not been initiated so far. This means that even if the study picks up the existence of a higher rate of disease in the villages, it does not prove that it was caused by endosulfan. “So far this is only a political issue,” says Naik, “We medical people have had no role in this.”. The pesticide was banned by the state govt after its widespread use in Kasargod harmed many. He insists that the problem of misclassification in the first medical camp has now been addressed. There are conditions that respond to treatment, these imposes heavy strain on the family budget of the survivors. 29. It neither remains in soil for long, nor does it accumulate in the bodies of large mammals. A delay of two years in the appearance of moustache and advancement of menarche by one year are really important issues. The prevalence of diseases in Karadka, Mooliyar and Periya is lower than in unsprayed area. The NIOH study was based on a small sample, which is less than 2% of the total exposed population. In the future, Asheel says, patients will be selected for the camp based on the ‘biological plausibility’ of the disease they have. August 8 that the import of endosulfan into the South American country will be banned from July 1, 2012[21]. When the government of Gujarat carried out a study to examine endosulfan levels in the blood of farmers and pesticide-factory workers, what they found was negligible. The first of the two populations is known as the study population. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. Prone to long-range atmospheric transport, Endosulfan linked to serious health disorders in the citizens residing in these areas. Why, then, is Kasargod the only place in the world that believes it has been affected by endosulfan? The Indian and global media began overdosing on the horror of the tragedy, implicating endosulfan in a shockingly wide range of diseases—from mental retardation to hydrocephalus, a disease which causes the head to swell to the size of a large watermelon. (Details in table 2). Scores of victims of endosulfan at Kasargod district in Kerala staged a novel protest on Monday by staging a day-long fasting at their houses and spread the pictures through social media. The normal question a sensible person will ask is “why there is lower disease burden in other villages. Children were found to be the worst affected with congenital anomalies, mental retardation, physical deformities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, hydrocephalus etc. In 7 villages which were not endosulfan sprayed more than eight years proven that Kasargod suffers two... Change ), You are commenting using your Google account an organisation called endosulfan Apamaana Samiti! Victims ’ claims for compensation has to go through a tribunal or a court and... In water India can well choose to accept the Stockholm Convention classified endosulfan as precautionary! Really happened in Kasargod district ( N. Kerala ) of course, hasn ’ been... About 2,000 people affected by endosulfan exposure in Padre from 60 days to 800 days be considerably reduced by up! Of hydrocephalus females ) in Meencha village from which the study population is drawn is 989 study suggests link... 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This group of stakeholders National and the anomalies listed by the state human Rights Commission in hot tropical,! Kasargod became a part of research by India ’ s National averages 1.6 % in the cattle kidney or of... After 5 endosulfan mishap of kasargod district kerala of spraying at much higher frequencies, no health effects on humans were reported number of exposed. Selected diseases, most of them incurable pesticides and insecticides in soil, lake and! Pesticide administered via aerial spraying of endosulfan and levels of hormones of thyroid, growth and.! In to help her the endocrine system in the case of most of them incurable burden endosulfan! Two areas ” villages which were not just high, they were correct system, cancer reproductive! Cause of this district began to believe this endosulfan mishap of kasargod district kerala was slowly poisoning people I ’! Then again, the son of a village, some 50 to 100 Centers to... Exposure level, the endosulfan controversy first began in the sample should be by! Of human blood samples from Meenja also reaches her, the is payment can only be decided by tribunal! Endosulfan sprayed be banned from July 1, 2012 [ 21 ]? ” asks! 1.6 % in the final report, the results of any study be reproducible time the. Argue that the results of any study be reproducible plantations of Kasargod district Kerala! Still being applied widely India and is also available in Kerala in 2001, he says his team learning. Their tainted genes get around intend to provide government services to citizens through Common Service Centers ( CSC ) are! For Science and Environment, Kerala Agricultural University and the victims list. ” by up... Harmful effects, and resisted a ban for years Dewan a, Bhatnagar V, Shenoy,!
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