A University Don at the University of Ilorin Professor Suleiman Folorunsho Ambali has stress the need for Increase in the level of awareness and advocacy on the dangers associated with indiscriminate use and disposition of pesticides.
Professor Suleiman Folorunsho Ambali from the Department of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Ilorin made the call at the 192nd Inaugural lecture of the University with the theme: ‘ Preventing Pesticides From Poisoning Away Our Health And Future-The Oxidative Approach’
Ambali who called on Governmental and non-govenmental organisations to mobilise on the task said the general populace should be enlightened on the danger of indoor use of pesticides, especially pregnant mothers and children who participate in farming activities to be well protected from getting exposed to pesticides as proper and regular maintenance of spraying equipment to avoid splashing of pesticide should be practiced.
He said “Measures aimed at encouraging safe usage ot pesticides by farmers, pesticide applicators and other individuals whose occupations are related to pesticides should be put in place”
“Policies aimed at reducing the use of pesticides in agricuture should be put in place. Farmers should be encouraged to use an integrated approach in controlling pests and where necessary develop alternative cropping systems less dependent on pesticides, revert to traditional hand hoeing, hand weeding, use of pest-resistant seeds and organic farming systems devoid of agrochemical application
“There is a need to strengthen the regulatory framework and processes for the continuous re-evaluation of all registeredpesticides in line with currently available information, especially on all aspects of safety to people and the environment. Many
pesticides are placed on the market with insufficient testing other than the traditional acute and chronic toxicity studies. Many of the tests related to specific end-points are absent from regulatory directives. National Agency for Food Drug and Control
(NAFDAC) and National Enviromental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) shouid take the lead in this aspect by working with research experts in our higher institutions of learning. I recommend that the 5-year validity
permit granted by NAFDAC for specific brands of pesticides that can be used in the country should be downgraded to three years as new information concerning safety level of the chemicals comes out frequently. There is a need to aiso tighten the procedures for registration of new pesticides, with safety considerations put at the front burner. Pesticides that are poorly labeled or labeled with foreign languages not inteligible to the populace should be banned from being imported into the country”
“There is need for the development of the national strategic framework that will ensure the enforcement and constant revision of legislation and regulatory control on pesticide manufacture, importation, sales, usage and residues
facture. importation, sales, usage. and residues. I am advocating that a National Agency for the Monitoring and control of residues from hazardous chemicals be established. This is to be excised from NAFDAC whose role in combating the menace of fake drugs and pharmacovigilance is already overwhelming.
“Strengthening of research facilities existing in higher institutions of learning in order to develop local safety limits such as acceptable daily intake of pesticides, as data being branded were those from Western countries where climate, diet, culture, economic and social status differ from what is obtainable in our environment. In addition, these institutions can be encouraged to develop cheap but effective substitutes to pesticides that accurately target pest, more environmentally friendly and that does not leach into the soil.
“lt is a well-known fact that newer pesticide formulations in the market are relatively safer, less hazardous and more environmentally friendly compared to the traditional ones being patronized by farmers, but they are very expensive. Therefore, the government must continuously subsidise the cost of procuring these newer pesticide formulations to encourage their use by farmers. In doing that, the government may consider raising tax payable for the imported traditional and more hazardous pesticides to discourage their use.
“There should be provision for more storage facilities by the government at all levels, in order to ensure that chemicals and methods used for storage of agricultural produce are in line with the global best practice.
“The government should as a matter of urgency address economic inequalities that have made peasant farmers poorer. The lack of adherence to specified decay period of pesticides used for storage of agricultural produce by arable farmers and non-adherence to withdrawal periods before turning by-products the market borders more on economic pressure than even awareness of the hazards.”
“Enlightenment of our healthcare providers and other personnel in the health management team on the need to consider pesticide poisoning as a differential in the diagnosis of some diseases, especially in those individuals that are exposed to pesticides by virtue of their occupation. This will help streamline the management and prognostic options available
“Border control: The country’s borders must be strengthened to control the importation of dangerous and hazardous pesticides, some of which have been banned in the developed countries of the world.
“The government should ban the open sales of pesticides and ensures those that are involved in their sales and procurement are knowledgeable enough to understand the health and environmental implications of unwholesome pesticides handling and application.
“Since oxidative stress is central to pesticide poisoning, it is strongly advocated that antioxidants be incorporated into its therapeutic and prophylactic management strategies in man and animals. Indeed, it is recommended that individuals who are likely to be involved with pesticides application take a prophylactic dose of antioxidants to mitigate the expected health outcomes following accidental exposure.” He said