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Astra Zeneca Death

Astra Zeneca

Herbicide Paraquat Astra Zeneca/Monsanto

Akha workers are asked to do the dirty work, spraying pesticides and herbicides for 60 to 80 baht a day. In this case the herbicide paraquat from Astra Zeneca of England, an extremely toxic poison to lung and heart tissue which can be absorbed through the skin. Workers have little to no protection. Management lets the hilltribe do the dangerous part.

2000-2004 pics
Commercial flower farm near Pah Nmm Akha
Ampur Mae Faluang

Akha workers - Thai farms
Paraquat can be found in many Akha homes, usually in a container as shown by the child or in a large container at a commercial farm. The chemical, as others, is totally innappropriate technology for many situations in Thailand and is always toxic. This chemical requires a class one applicators license in the US. But that would not make it safe. However the Akha have no idea what it does to their bodies, or that it is extremely dangerous. Here a supervisor talks to an Akha worker doing a job he wouldn't do.

Another Akha sprays it on the weeds.

Commerical flower farms for Chiangrai and Chiangmai market demand never lets the buyers know what the cost is to the environment and workers. In this region there are many poor hill tribe people who need work. A beautiful rice terrace was rented, plowed under, and bamboo poles were pulled from the mountains straining the bamboo environement. Workers labor inside the sealed plastic with pesticide being sprayed daily, and no protection. The soil becomes a sponge for hundreds of gallons of pesticide and herbicide till it will be too toxic to touch. The entire operation is next to the river that runs to Haen Taek. Abusing the environment and the workers, the owner thinks only of profit. The Thai government says nothing.

Chemicals are mixed near the creeks and canals, surplus spilling in the water, containers rinsed clean, back pack tanks leaking onto the body and into the clothes. Even women have to do this job. Later heading home with their baby on the very spot of clothes on their back where the tank leaked all day.

Astra Zeneca came to Thailand at our request. Paid money to help protect wells, but did not answer the greater issue of the chemical being too toxic to be sold.

Having learned such practices at work for others, Akha's bring the chemicals home to help "save time".

In addition to Zeneca there are a host of other western countries selling their toxins to the third world, Bayer sells Hedonal and has a factory in Bangkok, just to mention one.

Monsanto's pesticide containers can be found in Akha villages, brought home from the job where they must spray it in Thai lychee orchards and on other fruit including oranges which are being planted in many mountain areas near Akha villages.

While the Akha are told that there is not ENOUGH LAND for THEM to farm, there is plenty of land for other people to recklessly abuse.


Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation