“Exposing people to Endosulfan is a crime,” says health NGO

**The following is a HEAD press release.**

“Exposing People to Endosulfan is a Crime” – HEAD

The delayed admission that the sunken Princess of the Stars was carrying 10,000 kilos of the highly lethal pesticide endosulfan has placed thousands of people directly in harm’s way. Somebody should be held criminally liable for this.
Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) today strongly condemned the belated announcement by government officials that the ship was carrying massive quantities of a highly poisonous substance, the condition of which remains unknown and could possibly be leaking already.
“Endosulfan is a highly toxic substance that should be banned and not only strictly regulated. If it can go through government inspectors despite its enormous amount, there is either an outright collusion or a gross negligence between Sulpicio, Del Monte Philippines, Inc. (as owners), and government maritime regulatory bodies.” According to Dr. Geneve Rivera, HEAD secretary-general.
“All of these parties should be held criminally liable. They have not only unduly exposed rescuers and volunteers by their late admission but they have also placed entire communities at risk.”
HEAD is worried that current investigations are all for show and that in the end, no one will be penalized or held accountable.
“The Arroyo government should act decsisively and resolutely, even if the ax falls on its own agencies. Sulpicio Lines has been involved in 3 previous sea disater that victimized thousands but it continues to operate.” Said Dr. Rivera, “Now we might have a double tragedy: the sinking of a passenger ship and the possible massive exposure to endosulfan.”
Under Philippine laws, endosulfan is prohibited from being used near aquatic ecosystems, mainly because it is also highly toxic to fish. It is therefore surprising that it is being transported by sea and near populated areas.
“Government regulatory bodies such as the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, and even the Department of Health, should be aware of how these substances are used, transported, and stored because these are public health concerns.” added Dr. Rivera.
Aside from acute poisoning, chronic exposure to endosulfan even in small amounts is just as dangerous and lethal.
“Endosulfan is an endocrine disruptor that has an adverse effect on growth, development, and reproduction. Women and children are especially vulnerable. It can also cause nervous system disorders as well as cancer.”

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