Home Health Chemical pollution on the rise

Chemical pollution on the rise

by Admin-Phmp

By Henrylito D. Tacio

Photo by aheadoftheherd.com

Before dengue fever and Zika virus, there was malaria. All of these are caused by a bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. Malaria was – and still is – one of the deadliest diseases known to man. It kills in one year what AIDS killed in 15 years

“Malaria is by far the world’s most important tropical parasitic disease, and kills more people than any other communicable disease except tuberculosis,” said the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO). “In many developing countries, malaria exacts an enormous toll in lives, in medical costs, and in days of labor cost.”

One of the best ways to obliterate the malaria-carrying mosquitoes is by spraying DDT in areas where they are present. DDT is a colorless, tasteless, and almost odorless chemical compound that was first synthesized in 1874.

But there are side effects of DDT. “Following exposure to high doses, human symptoms can include vomiting, tremors or shakiness, and seizures,” said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Laboratory animal studies show DDT exposure can affect the liver and reproduction. DDT is also a possible human carcinogen, according to the US and international authorities who conducted a study on DDT.

In 2006, the use of DDT to fight malaria increased – thanks to the endorsement of the United Nations health agency and the US President’s Malaria Initiative under the administration of George Bush.

Although DDT should be used with caution – “only when needed, and when other effective, safe and affordable alternatives are locally available” – several health experts are against using DDT.

“We cannot allow people to die from malaria, but we also cannot continue using DDT if we know about the health risks,” Dr. Tiaan de Jager, a professor at the School of Health Systems & Public Health at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, was quoted as saying by Scientific American.

“Safer alternatives should be tested first and if successful, DDT should be phased out without putting people at risk,” said Dr. de Jager, who is a member of 15 environmental health experts who reviewed almost 500 health studies on DDT.

DDT is one of the chemicals being reviewed by experts during the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Stockholm Convention. They will evaluate whether to continue the use of the insecticide against malaria.

The Stockholm Convention is the global treaty protecting human health and the environment from long-lasting chemical pollution.

During the convention, over 2,000 delegates from around the world will discuss how best to curb chemical pollution. They may also add new so-called “forever chemicals” to the list of toxic substances to be banned or restricted under the Stockholm Convention.

Forever chemicals refer to the per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). They are known as such because they don’t break down in the environment or in the human bodies.

The PFAS – resistant to water, grease, and heat – are found in a range of everyday products including food packaging, clothing, cosmetics, and toilet paper. They can lead to health problems such as liver damage, thyroid disease, obesity, fertility issues and cancer.

The delegates to the convention are also expected to seek ways to further regulate the use of chemicals and pesticides under the Rotterdam Convention on hazardous chemicals management; and developing technical guidelines on the sound management of plastic and e-waste under the Basel Convention on transboundary hazardous waste management.

The UN health agency reported that a small number of chemicals for which data are available were estimated to have caused two million deaths, including from heart and respiratory diseases, as well as cancers.

What is alarming is that the overall production of chemicals worldwide is on the rise, and sales are projected to almost double from 2017 to 2030, the WHO deplored. 

related posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy