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Ban on Phosphorus Paste in Tamil Nadu!

Extremely dangerous pesticides that are harmful to both humans and animals have been banned from sale, stocking, display, and use for 60 days in the state.

Ayushi Sikarwar
Phosphorus in powdered form

Taking into consideration the use of 3 per cent yellow phosphorus (phosphorus paste) being one of the key contributing factors to suicidal fatalities in the state, as per the state branch of the National Health Mission, Tamil Nadu government has decided to put a ban on it. The ban comes up after a prominent committee recommended outlawing the drug.

Under the Insecticides Act of 1968, the Tamil Nadu government has outlawed the sale and use of phosphorus paste or any preparations consisting the material. Further, the sale, stocking, display, and use of six other highly hazardous pesticides that are detrimental to humans and animals have also been prohibited for 60 days under the same act.

According to the terms of the 1968 Insecticides Act, the governor of the state has outlawed the sale and distribution of six insecticides, including monocrotophos, profenophos, acephate, profenophos with cypermethrin, chlorpyrifos with cypermethrin, and chlorpyriphos (Central Act 46 of 1968).

An official notification in the matter states that the pesticide (rodenticide), i.e. 3 per cent yellow phosphorus, is not an officially registered insecticide, yet the lethal drug is easily available in convenience stores and supermarkets for use as an insecticide or other agricultural purposes.

Reportedly, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University conducted a study on the possibilities of prohibiting dangerous insecticides, after which the committee proposed a sixty-day ban on it.

The move was widely applauded by the Service Doctors and Postgraduates Association of Tamil Nadu, which claimed that various suicidal deaths have been witnessed in the state due to consuming these drugs in past one decade, and hence it has been years-long demand to ban these insecticides.

Meanwhile, state's health minister Ma. Subramanian announced that the Department of Agriculture will ask the Central government to permanently ban these pesticides in order to curb access to suicide tools.

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