Chairman of the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Control Board (PTCCB), Dr. Lynroy Christian, says the board will continue to monitor the illegal movement and storage of chemicals in the country.
This development comes on the heels of a current case where two persons are being prosecuted for the illegal importation and improper storage of the dangerous pesticide, 3-Steps.
The importation, sale and use of banned or unregistered chemical products is an offence liable on summary conviction to fines up to $25,000 or to imprisonment for up to 12 months – or both.
On Tuesday, the Board issued a notice reminding the public that the insecticide known locally as 3-Steps or tres pastois has been banned here for over 10 years, but continues to be sold on the local black-market.
During an interview on the OBSERVER AM show, Christian reminded residents that any individual desirous of importing chemicals must first register this intent with the board.
“The process of registration is controlled by the registrar who [is] duly appointed. The chemicals for importation should come through the board for review and based on the inspection of the document presented we will grant or deny the registration based on the type of chemical characteristics and the use. We would then notify the individual that there is a registration fee and then they would subsequently be allowed to import it.”
He clarified that this process not only aids in the monitoring of chemicals around the country, but also helps in the education of proper storage techniques.
Dr. Christian warns that although there have not been any cases locally, those persons importing and disposing chemicals may be putting others at risk.
“In our most recent case with the two guys, they were storing 3-Steps in an open bucket. A child may just pick that up and play with and it is a very hazardous chemical as those who use it can attest to how dangerous it is when rats consume it,” he said.
“So that sort of acute toxicity poisoning, once you are constantly in contact with it over a period of time can lead to long-term health effects. They disrupt your hormonal system and the physiological effects can be quite wide ranging as well. There is also eco-toxicity, and if it’s going to kill insects then it’s going to kill bees as well, which are pollination agents.”
Dr. Christian noted that the Board has implemented numerous measures to educate the public on the proper use and disposal of chemicals.
These include a food and agricultural project that deals exclusively with educating farmers on obsolete chemicals and the treatment of containers for disposal.
“There’s a triple-rinse policy that the farms should practice,” the Board chairman said. “Once the container is spent, then you rinse it three times and then you are able to dispose of it; but there is talk as to the retrieval of this from farms so that we can control the final disposal.”
Another venture highlighted by Dr. Christian is the plan to instill the information into all the schools across the country.
“We had a meeting with the science head within the Ministry of Education to speak with the schools which I think we will be doing tomorrow at a meeting. All of the schools will be at this forum [where we will discuss] do we import chemicals, what happens to [them], how [are they] disposed of — because there is a backlog of it within the schools as well.
“It’s something that we are taking on because it can be a potential risk…we are going to look at the schools, hotels, everyone, we have to look into the practices of the society,” Dr Christian said.