Endosulfan is a Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) which means it spreads through soil, air and water. Its toxins cross continents and oceans easily, polluting bodies and breast milk. Its reach has been wide: cotton farmers in Africa, Yaqui women in Mexico and even the Yupik people of the Arctic. In other words, nobody is safe.
Because no matter how hard it is to find alternatives to endosulfan, no matter how expensive or time-consuming or God-awful, it’s not negotiable. This is the government’s opportunity to choose safer, cleaner, gentler agricultural methods that don’t threaten to wipe out the human race. This is the time.
Last month, a world convention in Geneva finally banned its use and many countries will phase it out in the next year. Not us. We asked for, and were granted, an exemption. Which means we get to keep it for another five years. This is extendable by five more years. Fun.