By Morten Rønning
Already before the opening, manager of communications Dag Arthur Aasbø had to defend Borregaard's new factory. In a press release November 3 last year Aasbø claimed that there has been no attempt to get an approval for carbofuran in Norway, among other things due to the cool climate in this country. NorWatch has learned that an application for approval was refused by the Norwegian Plant Protection Institute as early as March 17, 1983.
"Very negative effects"
In the Norwegian Agricultural Inspection Service's protocol, item 19/83, it is clearly stated that: "The Norwegian Plant Protection Institute has found carbofuran to have very negative effects on earthworms and important predators of eggs of the cabbage root fly; consequently approval cannot be recommended." Further: "This decision also applies to other preparations containing carbofuran."
"Norwegian regulations are under no circumstance relevant for a product that is not produced in Norway, and that due to our climate will not be used here, " says director of communications Tor Gervin of Borregaard.
Tore Schanke from the Norwegian Agricultural Inspection Service said in the newspaper Aftenposten November 4 last year that the substance was not only harmful to human beings, but also to birds and fish. The substance is also absorbed by plants, thus it is important that it is not used in the harvesting period. Schanke says that the half-life of carbofuran is 1-2 months; Borregaard claims the process takes only half that time. Borregaard's carbofuran factory in China is a joint venture with the Chinese Jinlong Group, with holdings of 55% and 45%, respectively. The raw materials come from Borregaard's diphenol activities in Italy.
Borregaard describes the Taichang project as better than other Chinese carbofuran factories, as it employs Western high technology and cooperates with Beijing Agricultural University. According to Borregaard, the factory will release no harmful substances into the environment.
The pesticide carbofuran is being spread on the ground as a granule in the sowing or planting process, or it is used in a liquid for the impregnation of seed grain. According to Schanke, the farmer must use such protective equipment as glasses, gloves, a dust mask and a safety overall during this work.
"The Norwegian Plant Protection Institute has found carbofuran to have a very negative effect on earthworms and important predators of eggs of the cabbage root fly; consequently approval cannot be recommended."
The Norwegian Plant Protection Institute, 1983
In Denmark carbofuran has been used for many years. In 1994, 7,532 kilos were used. This was mainly granule products with a carbofuran content of 1% and 5%, respectively. The granule is used when planting, for example, corn, red beets, cabbage and onions. This granule product is labeled "harmful" in Denmark. One company in Denmark has a permission to use higher concentrations of carbofuran in liquid spray for impregnation of sugar beet seeds for export. This product is labeled TX, very toxic, according to Klaus Hansen of the Danish Ministry of the Environment.
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