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Traces of Endosulfan have been found in the organic soy of the Capanema farmers. At first, the organic farmers were suspected of having used the poison. But the inquiries have revealed that they are entirely innocent: the conventional farmers and the rain are to blame.

2010 Feinheit

Within the first two days after the application of Endosulfan up to 70 % of the poison has evaporated from the surface of the plants and the ground. Through rain and fog (humid deposition) as well as through dust and aerosol (dry deposition), the largest share of the poison gets released into the atmosphere and pollutes rivers, lakes and forests as well as the fields of the organic farmers of Capanema. Endosulfan spreads widely. Therefore you can find it in National Parks as well as in the Sahara and even the Antarctic. Plants and animals accumulate the pesticide in their fat; soy beans are especially prone to do so, due to their high oil content.

Large amounts of Endosulfan in circulation

Last year, Brasil imported 2.4 million kg Endosulfan. For this year’s harvest, 5500 kg Endosulfan have been spread over the 14’400 hectar land with conventional soy in the municipality of Capanema. This is twice as much as in earlier years. Its sale has probably been boosted by the producers of Endosulfan because of the worldwide ban ahead of them. More than 3800 kg Endosulfan evaporated shortly after its use and spread over the entire municipality. An additional amount of Endosulfan is likely to have arrived through wind and rain in Capanema, coming from even more intensively cultivated areas further away.

2010 Feinheit

Endosulfan on organic fields

Considering that four per cent of the total surface of Capanema is organically farmed fields we can assume that four per cent of the evaporated 3800 kg Endosufan have reached the organic fields - even without additional load from other regions. This is more than 150 kg. This year, 0.15 kg Endosulfan was found in the organic soy harvest of 3400 tons. This corresponds to a thousandth of the amount spread over the organic fields through the environment and to an average concentration of 0.045 miligram per kilogram soy.

The amount of Endosulfan ending up in rivers, soil and forest is unknown. What is certain is that the bodies of water are polluted with Endosulfan: in 100 per cent of the water analysis , Endosulfan has been found. Endosulfan then gradually decomposes – however, its half-time period is between some weeks and several months.

Ban comes too late

Endosulfan is banned in more than sixty countries today. The producer lobbies as well as the industrial agriculture lobbies stand up against a global ban of Endosulfan. Experts fear that the chemical manufacturers will try to get rid of large amounts of controversial pesticides before the worldwide ban. “Brazil is turning into a dump. All controversial pesticides which cannot be sold elsewhere, are brought here,” says Rosany Bochner, toxicologist at the Brazilian institute Fiocruz. The organic farmers of Capanema have already felt the consequences of this reality. The planned ban of Endosulfan in Brazil 2013 comes definitely too late for them.

EJF (2009): End of the Road for Endosulfan
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