Statement on the Decision by the Hazardous Substances Control Bureau on 23rd May 2018

The Network in Support of Banning Dangerous Chemicals, composed of 369 organizations, would like to express its regret regarding the decision taken by the Hazardous Substances Control Bureau today (23rd May 2018) not to ban paraquat and chlorpyrifos. The ban of these dangerous chemicals was recommended by the Ministry of Public Health and by the working group composed of four main ministries as well as members of the academic community from various institutions. This choice constitutes a policy decision that benefits chemical companies without consideration of the negative impacts on public health and the environment, and contradicts the government’s former claims that it would lead the country to sustainable development.

Today’s decision was taken by a specially-appointed committee with representatives mainly connected with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Despite recent empirical evidence indicating the health risks of paraquat, chlorpyrifos, and glyphosate; the committee included consideration of outdated studies to inform its decision. Moreover, the group Thai Crop Protection Association; an association of companies that sell paraquat, chlorpyrifos, and glyphosate; participated in the decision-making process. This type of conflict of interest is illegal according to Article 12 of Thailand’s Hazardous Substances Act, which states: “Any committee member who has personal gain or loss associated with a certain issue does not have the right to vote on that issue.”

This decision reflects the faulty infrastructure of the Hazardous Substances Control Bureau in its inability to protect the benefit and health of the people. Instead, it has become a tool of the chemical companies. The government must take responsibility for these shortcomings.

The Network in Support of Banning Dangerous Chemicals is calling for the Prime Minister in his capacity as the head of state to quickly order a review of this decision, which was undertaken with a lack of transparency, overlapping roles, and conflicts of interest.

At the same time, the Network is inviting people all over the country to boycott goods and services from companies and groups that support sale or use of paraquat and chlorpyrifos, and to join in a large demonstration in front of the Government House in order to show our intentions and to push the government to take action to protect human and environmental health across the country.

23 May 2018