Saturday, January 02, 2010

Some fertilizers contain toxins that can trigger seizures

The practice of adding hazardous materials to fertilizers had been a serious issue since 1997. Industries have found a way to get rid of toxic wastes, including industrial wastes and pesticides by putting them in fertilizers.

According to Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, some tests done on fertilizers show the presence of numerous heavy metals and other contaminants.

She said these toxic fertilizers have been shown to have caused the contamination and loss of agricultural lands, death of livestock, contamination of groundwater or drinking water and potentially allowed toxic substances to end up in food supplies.

She said some of the toxins which have been found in commercial fertilizers include lead which causes seizures, mental retardation and behavioral disorders, cadmium which is known to cause cancer, kidney disease, neurological dysfunction, immune system changes and birth defects, and arsenic which is a known carcinogen.

Santiago said this is precisely why she is pushing for the passage of a bill, Senate Bill 3556, which calls for an immediate halt to the practice of adding toxic and hazardous materials to fertilizers.

“The Constitution, Article 2, Section 16 which states that the government “shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,” Santiago stated in the measure.

“The purpose of this bill is to stop the practice of adding toxic and hazardous materials to fertilizers immediately,” she added.

The measure would be termed as “Fertilizer Content Act” and would primarily ban fertilizers that poses substantial or potential threats to public health and environment and generally exhibits carcinogenic, ignitable, oxidant, corrosive, toxic, radioactive or explosive characteristics.

Under the bill, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is mandated to analyze samples of all commercial fertilizers for the presence of hazardous wastes or hazardous substances.

The Department of Health (DOH) will assist the DTI in conducting these tests. The Secretary of Trade and Industry will publish a list of fertilizer products containing hazardous wastes or substances and will annually report the results of the sampling and analysis to the legislature.


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