• Monocrotophos is a toxic pesticide recently in news due to deaths in TN
  • The internationally banned pesticide, which is known to make plants look green and healthy, was also linked to the death of 23 school children in Bihar in 2013.
  • Monocrotophos is one of the oldest pesticides still in use, and although it is known to be toxic, it is not alone.
  • There are two kinds of toxic pesticides: acute ones which cause immediate effect, and chronic pesticides which have a built-up effect over a long period of time.
  • Monocrotophos is an highly acutely toxic. But somehow, it is still used for non-food products.
  • The World Health Organisation has placed monocrotophos in Class 1b — a category reserved for highly hazardous pesticides.
  • The substance was banned in 2005 in India for use on vegetables. Currently, monocrotophos is mostly used to grow cotton.
  • Monocrotophos can be absorbed into the human body through multiple pathways, including inhalation, skin contact and ingestion, and is acutely toxic by all routes of exposure.
  • The first two modes of exposure put Indian farmers at an unusually high risk.
  • Farmers here mostly work without any protective equipment, and this puts them at risk of pesticide uptake by inhalation and absorption through the skin.

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