Aufruf an die Teilnehmer des 10. IUPAC-Pestizid-Kongresses

Basle, August 5 2002

Ladies and Gentlemen

Welcome to Basel!

In the week ahead, according to the motto of the congress, you will be focussing on innovative solutions for healthy crops. This is a very important task, as pesticide contamination continues at rates far in excess of what human beings and the environment can tolerate. Innovation, therefore, is imperative.

Innovative Solutions?

As the product policy of Syngenta, your host at this congress, amply demonstrates, even the world’s largest agro-chemical corporation has failed to initiate a change of course that is long overdue.The company’s most important product, Paraquat, is fully 40 years old and is still sold under the brand name Gramoxone.

Countless deaths attributable to Paraquat have been documented. Thousands of plantation workers, especially in countries of the global south, are suffering from adverse health effects due to Paraquat use: nosebleed, stabbing headaches, breathing difficulties, failing eyesight, skin injuries. Many will most likely experience long-term injuries. Seven European states and four developing countries have already banned Paraquat or severely restricted its application. The Swedish regulatory agency KEMI has pronounced Paraquat quite simply unsuitable for use – and this in a country known for high safety standards.

So far, Syngenta has refused to discuss the demand of non-governmental organizations for a ban on the production and sale of Gramoxone. Their corporate leaders seem to place short-term economic benefits above the safety and health of plantation workers and farmers and the protection of the environment. We will continue to pressure Syngenta until the product is taken off the market.

We wish you an innovative congress, the spirit to find sustainable solutions and a pleasant stay in Switzerland.

· Berne Declaration (Switzerland)
· Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
· Foro Emaus (Costa Rica)
· Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific
· Pesticide Action Network UK
· Pesticide Action Network North America
· Pesticide Action Network Germany
· Red de Accion sobre Plaguicidas y Alternativas en México (RAPAM)
· Pesticide Action Network Latin America (RAP-AL)

For further Information:

François Meienberg, Berne Declaration: 0041 (0)1 277 70 04 or
0041 (0)79 478 91 94

· Press Release: Time to phase out paraquat – Syngenta’s controversial pesticide, April 22, 2002

· Paraquat: Syngenta’s controversial herbicide. A report by John Madeley for Berne Declaration (Switzerland), Foro Emaus (Costa Rica), Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Asia Pacific (Malaysia), PAN UK (UK) and Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Sweden), April 2002.

· Poisoned and Silenced: A study of pesticide poisoning in the plantations. Tenaganita and PAN Asia and the Pacific, Malaysia, March 2002.

· Paraquat in developing countries. Catharina Wesseling, Berna van Wendel de Joode, Clemens Ruepert, Catalina León1, Patricia Monge, Hernán Hermosilla, Timo Partanen, Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances (IRET), Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica, 2001. Int J Occup Health July 24, 2001.

· Testimonies of Costa Rican workers recently injured by paraquat. Catharina Wesseling, MD, PhD; Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances; Universidad Nacional; Heredia, Costa Rica

· Paraquat: time to go! You can make the difference. by Arjunan Ramasamy; Tenaganita; Malaysia, April 2002.