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21 July 2007 - Reproductive effects of PCBs

Women becoming pregnant in the San Francisco Bay area during the 1960's were a third less likely to give birth to a baby boy if their PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) levels were relatively high.

The results adds weight to the growing evidence that contamination in the womb can alter the relative proportion of boys and girls that are born.

Source: Environmental Health News

Hertz-Picciotto, I. et al (2008) A cohort study of in utero polychlorinated biphenyl exposures in relation to secondary sex ratio. Environmental Health (7):37.

14 July 2008 - Levels of POPs are decreasing

Professor Laurie Chan of the University of Northern British Columbia (Canada) reports that "Organochlorines, like DDT or chlordane or toxaphene or industrial chemicals like PCB, are declining" in animals that are the traditional food source among native peoples of the Canadian north. She suggests that this may be an indication that the efforts under the Stockholm Convention is starting to have an impact.

An earlier study published in 2007 that the found average PCB levels in the blood of pregnant women from 14 communities the arctic region of Canada and decrease 24 per cent between 2000 and 2007.

In contrast, mercury levels seal flesh increased 42 per cent.

Source: Canadian Press / CBC News

14 July 2008 - Tanzania to start using DDT again

After many years, Tanzania plans to use DDT starting in July this year to control malaria. The National Environment Management Council (NEMC) and the Vice President’s Office (Environmental management) will issue procedures for DDT use and analyse its environmental effects.

Kenya and Uganda are reluctant to use the insecticide because of potential consequences DDT use on international trade. The horticulture sector in Kenya and Tanzania see DDT as a serious threat to flower exports. Both want their respective governments to think of an “alternative method.”

Source: The East African July 14, 2008.

14 May 2008 - Nigeria bans 30 agrochemical products

The Apapa Vanguard reported on 14 May 2008 that the Nigerian National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has banned the sale of 30 agrochemical products. The ban was the result of concern over contamination of food that caused death among those who consumed food crops preserved with the chemicals.

In one event, a total of 112 people were hospitalised and the death of two children recorded. In another case, 120 secondary school students were rushed to hospital after consuming a meal of beans suspected to have been preserved with poisonous chemicals.

NAFDAC Director-General, Professor Dora Akunyili explained: “The moi-moi and beans from the homes of the victims and from open markets in Taraba and Benue states were collected for laboratory analysis. The laboratory report revealed outrageously high levels of organophostate, carbamates, fenithrothion and chloropyrifos that are highly toxic pesticides.” The poisoning at the secondary school was likely due to high levels of lindane, an organochlorinated pesticide commonly called Gammallin, that is often used to harvest fish.

Some of the banned pesticides are aldrin, binapacryl, captafol, chlordane, chlordimeform, DDT, dieldrin, dinoseb, ethylene dichloride, heptaclor and lindane.

Others are parathion, phosphamidon, monocroptophos, methamidophos, chlorobenzilate, toxaphene, endrin, merix endosulphan, delta HCH and ethylene oxide.

Based on a report by Inalegwu Shaibu

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