S.C.S. to lead paraquat ban discussions

By Fuimaono Lumepa Hald 28 August 2022, 10:59PM

Samoa Conservation Society (S.C.S.) will lead a public discussion on Tuesday on the dangers of the weed killer paraquat amid calls for its banning.

The public discussion will be held at the Insel Fehmarn Hotel in Moto’otua on Tuesday between 6.30pm and 8.30pm and the public is invited to attend.

S.C.S. President James Atherton told the Samoa Observer that their non-government organisation has been raising the issue in the public domain for over two years now.

"We have had many meetings on paraquat with different people but this is the first public talk on it but this is the 5th Samoa Conservation Public Talk this year," he said.

The presentation on Tuesday is titled “Is it time to ban PARAQUAT in Samoa?" and will be presented by the board member of the Animal Protection Society (A.P.S.) Johanna Coyle as well as Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard, a Samoan historian and environmentalist and retired Professor from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

The objective of the public discussion is to learn more about the impact of the paraquat in Samoa and what needs to be done about it.

Ms. Coyle revealed that the recent data from the A.P.S. on dog poisoning is alarming with the latest data even available for this month.

"Just got dog poisoning cases data: July was 19 dogs from 15 different houses, August so far is six dogs from five different households," she said.

Other families have reported dead dogs from paraquat poisoning to the Samoa Observer in recent months.

In a recent email to this newspaper from Professor Gabbard, the biggest class action torts in the U.S.A. as of 15 June 2022 include paraquat lawsuits. 

"Paraquat is a commercial herbicide used in large-scale agriculture. Chronic exposure to Paraquat has been linked to increased rates of early-onset Parkinson’s disease, prompting a wave of Paraquat product liability lawsuits,” the email from Professor Gabbard read.

“The Paraquat cases have been consolidated into an MDL in the Southern District of Illinois.

"At the end of last year, the Paraquat MDL (multidistrict litigation) had just 482 pending cases; so far this year 810 new Paraquat cases have been filed and transferred into the MDL, bringing a total number of pending cases up to 1,292. This is an increase in Paraquat lawsuits of about 200 per cent in just six months – the largest percentage growth rate of any product liability MDL in 2022."

The Assistant C.E.O. with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr Ramona Sulifoa, said in response to questions from this newspaper there is a Paraquat Working Group within the Ministry who are addressing the issue.

By Fuimaono Lumepa Hald 28 August 2022, 10:59PM
Samoa Observer

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