The chemical giant UPL has been tight-lipped about the contents of the warehouse torched during the July unrest, emitting a choking blanket of smoke over surrounding communities and poisoning an adjacent river and wetland.
Yesterday amaBhungane revealed much of the extremely toxic contents, piercing the persistent secrecy. Today we are making the full inventory of the warehouse available to readers.
A perusal of the inventory shows that UPL was storing large quantities of chemicals that are banned elsewhere in the world but not in South Africa.
Among these products banned in the EU and elsewhere are:
• More than 40 000 litres of paraquat-based herbicides which have been banned in over 50 countries including the UK, China, Switzerland and Thailand;
• Roughly 150 000 litres of atrazine-based products and another 30 tonnes in dry form. Atrazine is banned in 31 countries including the EU;
• 36 000 litres of chlorpyrifos-based products which are banned in the US and EU;
• Almost 92 tonnes of mancozeb-based products which are banned in the EU;
• 141 000 litres of 2,4-D-based products and 51 tonnes in dry form, banned in Vietnam, Norway and Mozambique;
• Over 37 tonnes of products using maleic hydrazide which is banned in the EU except under exceptional circumstances and also banned in India; and
• Over 26 tonnes of methomyl-based product banned in India and used under severe restrictions in the US.
UPL publishes all the safety data sheets (also called Material Safety Data Sheets) for their products on their website. One can search according to the product name or the active ingredient.
The safety data sheets provide information about the hazards associated with the products, and both the short-term and long-term health and environmental impacts of the products.