THE EDITOR, Sir:
PLEASE PUBLISH this letter as a warning to those who use the herbicide Gramoxone aka Paraquat. My mother has recently lost four trusted dogs to the toxic Gramoxone. Although they were animals who died a horrible and painful death I must point out the risk to people who handle this dangerous herbicide.
Gramoxone is banned in several countries around the world and is classified as a 'restricted' chemical in the United States which means that it can only be used by people who are licensed applicators. It is highly poisonous and in the US has a blue dye to keep it from being confused with beverages such as coffee, it also has a sharp odour as a added warning. It is so toxic that one teaspoon can kill a adult.
Gramoxone poisoning is possible through skin exposure, skin that has sores, cuts, or a severe rash. If inhaled Gramoxone could cause poisoning leading to lung damage. We need stringent controls of how this chemical is used in Jamaica and I would even ask government to consider a complete ban of Gramoxone.
Furthermore, we know of no antidote or effective treatment to reverse poisoning. Studies have shown it has a detrimental affect on the eco-system long after being absorbed into the soil. The majority of deaths caused by Gramoxone occur in developing countries due to inadequate precautions when handled and its unrestricted sale. Gramoxone is an old, outdated and dangerous chemical that should be banned. Gramoxone is highly toxic to human beings as well as animals. We must consider alternatives that are inexpensive and have no risk to humans and animals.
I am, etc.,