Toxic chemicals used as herbicide, namely paraquat, glyphosate
and insecticide, chlorpyrifos, must be banned within this year, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Tuesday.
“I would like to ask if we have to wait for more people to die (from these toxic chemicals),” he said.
Previously, the Agriculture Ministry was against a complete ban on the three widely used toxic pesticides, claiming that their sudden withdrawal from use will adversely affect farmers. Instead, the ministry chose to train farmers on their proper use to ensure the health and safety of the farmers and consumers.
Consumer groups, however, are demanding that the substances be banned outright, citing their harmful effects on human beings and the environment.
Mr. Anutin also dismissed a report that the Public Health Ministry will give a blanket pay rise to all one million village health volunteers nationwide, adding that the volunteers would be given rises only when they have fulfilled their responsibilities as frontline health officials, and are capable of reducing the number of patients seeking treatment at state hospitals.
He said that, if the village health volunteers were effective in providing basic health services, the country’s health costs would be reduced substantially.