"Seven-year-old Yeshaswini Gowda lies on the floor of her home in southern India unable to talk or walk. Her mother blames the severe disability on endosulfan, an insecticide banned in 60 countries.
“When I was pregnant, helicopters used to spray endosulfan in the nearby cashew plantations and at times it used to fall on my body,” said Damayanty Gowda, 28, in the village of Nidle in Karnataka state. “My two other children died and it can’t be due to anything but the chemical.”
Indian officials aren’t so sure. While a 2007 European Union report tied endosulfan to physical and mental illnesses and deaths, India’s federal government says there’s no evidence that long-term exposure carries health risks. Indian companies led by Hindustan Insecticides Ltd. are the world’s biggest producers and the government has vowed to vote against including the pesticide on a United Nations list of dangerous chemicals at a conference in Geneva from Oct. 11."
Jay Shankar reports for Bloomberg in BusinessWeek March 25, 2010.