Toxic wait must end

The change in the composition of the National Hazardous Substances Committee (NHSC), which regulates use of three harmful farm chemicals — paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos — could add complications to a move to have the trio banned.

The new composition under the Industry Ministry permanent secretary will see two representatives from the Public Health Ministry, the Medical Department and Medical Science Department removed from the 29-member panel.

The reduction to 27 panel members, which is stipulated under the revised hazardous substances control law, took Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul by surprise. The two agencies no longer represented on the panel are staunch opponents of the three farm chemicals, given strong evidence that their toxic residues contaminate farm produce that is bought in shops.

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