Suriya faces lawsuits for toxin ban U-turn

Suriya faces lawsuits for toxin ban U-turn

Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit
Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit

A network of advocates for a ban on three toxic farm chemicals is threatening to file a lawsuit against Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit over the decision by the National Hazardous Substances Committee (NHSC) to scrap it.

The group said the reversal of the ban on the herbicide glyphosate and delay in the prohibitions against the herbicide paraquat and pesticide chlorpyrifos was illegal.

The decision was made at a meeting on Nov 27, chaired by Mr Suriya who was appointed as the new chairman of the NHSC.

Witoon Lianchamroon, director of BioThai, said the group will file lawsuits against Mr Suriya with the Central Administrative Court and the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases unless any relevant state agency or the NHSC itself first seek to begin a process of assessing the legality of the decision.

His remarks came after some NHSC members challenged Mr Suriya's claim that the panel voted "unanimously" to postpone the ban on paraquat and chlorpyrifos from Sunday and restrict the use of glyphosate instead of banning it.

Jiraporn Limpananond, chair of the Pharmacy Council of Thailand, earlier said on Facebook that she had resigned from the NHSC last Wednesday evening. She said that committee members were not asked to vote on each point last Wednesday and instead were forced to accept the resolution as a whole.

Mr Witoon refuted claims by anti-ban supporters that glyphosate is not dangerous because it is still permitted by several other countries.

He said such claims contradict a study of the International Agency for Research on Cancer which is part of the World Health Organisation.

Saree Ongsomwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said the network will file a class-action lawsuit against the NHSC on behalf of 110 victims of the three farm chemicals this month.

However, Mr Suriya shrugged off the legal threat by the group, saying the NHSC will meet again this month to second its resolution made on Nov 27.

Mr Suriya insisted that the decision will remain unchanged.

"The resolution is legal. It was already scrutinised by lawyers," the minister said.


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