Banned pesticide found in Mulu oil palm plantation

Radiant Lagoon accused of applying a substance which is suspected to damage the unborn child

(Mulu, Sarawak/Malaysia) Penan and Berawan villagers from the Mulu region in Sarawak, Malasian Borneo, have found a pesticide on their lands whose use has been banned by the European Union for fears it may damage the unborn child.

According to community sources, dozens of kilograms of Antracol were found in a greenhouse operated by Radiant Lagoon, a Malaysian plantation company. In the greenhouse, seedlings for a controversial new oil palm plantation near the Mulu National Park are being bred.

Antracol is a wettable powder fungicide manufactured by German chemicals giant Bayer based on the active ingredient propineb (dithiocarbamate). Last year, Antracol failed to obtain the renewal of its approval by EU authorities.

According to a report by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, propineb has “potential endocrine disrupting properties related to the hazards of its major metabolite 4-methylidmidazoline-2-thione (PTU)“. Specifically, the substance is “suspected of damaging the unborn child.“

EU authorities concluded in 2018 that no plant protection product containing propineb is expected to satisfy European safety regulations and the approval of propineb should therefore not be renewed.

The Bruno Manser Fonds calls on Radiant Lagoon to immediately stop using hazardous chemicals in the environmentally sensitive Mulu region and to remove the products from the ground.

Malaysian authorities are urged to ensure that the water supply of indigenous communities located near oil palm plantations will be protected against chemical pollution.