Mexico to eliminate toxic chemical lindane
MONTREAL, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ - Representatives of the government of
Mexico announced the country's intention to develop and implement a program
leading to the phase out of all uses of lindane, a toxic chemical used mainly
as a pesticide and treatment for head lice and scabies, at an international
meeting of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) in Montreal last
Mexico outlined its plan at a meeting with Canada and the United States
to develop a North American Regional Action Plan (NARAP) to reduce or
eliminate lindane under the auspices of the CEC.
Dr. Mario Yarto, Director of Toxic Chemicals at the Mexican environment
ministry (Semarnat), called the announcement "a victory for public health in
Mexico, and a major step forward in the elimination of lindane from the North
Lindane is a wide-ranging, persistent organic pollutant that accumulates
in the environment, animals and fish, before being passed on to humans where
it concentrates in milk and body fat. The chemical has long been associated
with skin irritation and nausea, but can even cause convulsions and death with
high levels of acute exposure. Research has found that some infants in Mexico
may be exposed to lindane levels 30 times greater than adults.
William Kennedy, the executive director of the CEC, praised Mexico for
its leadership: "These chemicals won't leave the environment unless we stop
producing and using them, and Mexico has responded to that challenge most
Mexico's plan is detailed in the Instituto Nacional de Ecologia's
"Lindane National Diagnostic," which was written with the participation of
government, industry, academia, indigenous groups, and nongovernmental
organizations. Mexico will formulate a timetable for the elimination of
lindane use in concert with commitments in the NARAP. This timetable will also
include a series of actions planned and assessed for the short, medium and
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) reiterated its
plans to reevaluate the continuing registration of seed treatment uses after
receipt of additional test data. The US EPA expects the reevaluation will be
complete by August of 2006. Canada, meanwhile, had previously committed to the
elimination of lindane in agricultural uses by the end of 2004.
Once finalized, the NARAP for lindane will likely seek to reduce or
eliminate its uses, provide and promote outreach and education, encourage
science and research, and strengthen working relationships between regulatory
agencies in the three countries.
SOURCE COMMISSION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION
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