BANGLADESH: Poisonous pesticides sprayed on lychees killed 8 children

by Morshedur Rahman,


The government’s disease control arm has found pesticides and chemicals sprayed on litchis responsible for the death of eight children in Dinajpur in 21 days.



“We became certain after visiting houses of those children and the litchi orchards and conducting necessary tests that their deaths were caused by their contact with litchis sprayed with pesticides,” said IEDCR Director Mahmudur Rahman on Wednesday.


The children, aged between one and a half, and six years, died between May 29 and Jun 18 at the Dinajpur Medical College Hospital with almost identical symptoms.


The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) conducted tests to determine the cause of their deaths.


Director Rahman told the children were affected when they went near the litchi orchards, where pesticides had been sprayed.


“Presence of poisonous pesticides was found in the blood of the dead children and in the litchis,” he said.


A team of researchers visited the houses of the children in Biral, Birganj, Kaharole and Khansama Upazilas following the deaths.


Rahman said they found houses of all the children adjacent to litchi orchards where they would move about and eat litchis from the trees there.


Excessive level of pesticides was sprayed in the orchards, he said.


Dinajpur Medical College Hospital’s paediatric specialist Dr Abdul Wares told 11 of the 12 children died after they were admitted between May 29 and Jun 18.


“The affected children suddenly started crying at night. Then they had convulsions. They died within 12-13 hours of being hospitalised,” he said.


Dr Wares said IEDCR researchers had collected samples from the bodies of eight children until Jun 18. Three more children, admitted with similar complaints, died after the sample collection.


The children are Phool Kumar, 2, ‘Shamima’, 5, ‘Swapan’, 6, and ‘Mamun’, 5, of Birganj, 30-month old ‘Minara’, 18-month old ‘Samiul’, and ‘Sakib’, 3, of Biral, ‘Rimi’, 4, of Khansama, Abu Sayem, 4, of Chirirbandar, 54-month old ‘Yasmin’, of Kaharole, and Jerin, 5, of Parbatipur.


Another 14 children died in 2012 after being affected by pesticides sprayed in litchi orchards.


IEDCR researchers said farmers were spraying 23 types of chemicals and some ‘unknown’ pesticides on litchis.


Source: BDNews 24

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