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Chemical Pollution.....blood Toxins

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Problem with "organic" produce in Chiang Mai is that almost every watershed area is severely polluted with pesticide. The hilltribes grow their flowers on the high hills. These utilise huge amounts of pesticide and that enters the water for everybody downstream. There is almost no "clean" water in CM province.

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Problem with "organic" produce in Chiang Mai is that almost every watershed area is severely polluted with pesticide. The hilltribes grow their flowers on the high hills. These utilise huge amounts of pesticide and that enters the water for everybody downstream. There is almost no "clean" water in CM province.

I think it is diluted to undetectable levels by the time it hits the lowlands....am I wrong?

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Problem with "organic" produce in Chiang Mai is that almost every watershed area is severely polluted with pesticide. The hilltribes grow their flowers on the high hills. These utilise huge amounts of pesticide and that enters the water for everybody downstream. There is almost no "clean" water in CM province.

I think it is diluted to undetectable levels by the time it hits the lowlands....am I wrong?

Unfortunately this is most likely wishful thinking. I have experienced directly the severe poisoning of the water supply in farming communities in the US.

Does anyone here have any connections with the ag departments at CMU or MJU? They both have had strong interest in the past in the whole pesticide/herbicide issue. It would be interesting to know if they have conducted any tests for chemical contamination on the general water supply that farms tap into and also on produce grown without the chemicals, but potentially exposed to indirect contaminants to see what the contamination levels are. It might be a real eye opener.

I know at CMU they had a good sized program encouraging local farmers to be pesticide and herbicide free and it was spearheaded by the department chairman. If they have not conducted such tests already they might be very keen to do so if they were made aware of the possible magnitude of the problem.

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Both CMU and Maejo are actively involved in testing water etc.

I looked into this in some depth about eight years ago, as I was looking for land on which to start organic farming. After testing samples from many areas, from north of Chiang Rai to south of Hot, we found only one clean piece of land with a water supply which would pass relevant UK requirements to be classed as organic. That was near Ampur Mae Wang and the owner there had complete control of the entire watershed area, and had kept it chemical free for 45+ years.

Every other piece of land, highland or lowland, and water supply, whether from river, stream or artesian supply, was too contaminated to pass.

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Both CMU and Maejo are actively involved in testing water etc.

I looked into this in some depth about eight years ago, as I was looking for land on which to start organic farming. After testing samples from many areas, from north of Chiang Rai to south of Hot, we found only one clean piece of land with a water supply which would pass relevant UK requirements to be classed as organic. That was near Ampur Mae Wang and the owner there had complete control of the entire watershed area, and had kept it chemical free for 45+ years.

Every other piece of land, highland or lowland, and water supply, whether from river, stream or artesian supply, was too contaminated to pass.

A great shame. And you say that most of the contamination is coming from the commercial growing of flowers by the hilltribes. I was not aware of this problem when last there. I was aware though of one or two orange groves that were way over the top with the use of these poisons and that from there it was also getting into the water system..

Clearly it would be more than we want, but I wonder how much of the contamination is passing through the root system of the plants into the vegetable itself (assuming it is not a root vegetable like carrots for example) with organically grown vegetables. It would be nice to have actual test results to be able to highlight the problem and in this way track down the source of the poisons getting into people's bloodstreams.

Has anything been done to try to stop the hilltribes from using pesticides both through educating them about the incredible damage to themselves as the ones most directly exposed and about safe alternatives? I am surprised that this has not been brought to the attention of the King. From what I understand he is very proactively eco oriented.

:o

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Both CMU and Maejo are actively involved in testing water etc.

I looked into this in some depth about eight years ago, as I was looking for land on which to start organic farming. After testing samples from many areas, from north of Chiang Rai to south of Hot, we found only one clean piece of land with a water supply which would pass relevant UK requirements to be classed as organic. That was near Ampur Mae Wang and the owner there had complete control of the entire watershed area, and had kept it chemical free for 45+ years.

Every other piece of land, highland or lowland, and water supply, whether from river, stream or artesian supply, was too contaminated to pass.

Do you have data that you could pm me on this issue....I'm very interested. I'd like to know who did the sampling and the testing and what the results were. Did you test water or dirt or both. How many areas did you sample? Did you sample irrigation water from irrigation systems? What specific items were found that wouldn't pass muster for the UK?

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I'm sorry. I have no details any more. As I said above, this was some eight years ago and we were searching for land suitable for organically growing medicinal herbs, among other things. We took soil and water samples from many tens of potentially availavble sites and gave them to a Maejo Professor who was then involved in the project, I'm afraid I have forgotten his name.

The only site that passed belonged to a locally well-known gentleman, a friend of the King. Unfortunately there was too much land there, and it was well beyond our budget at well over 1,000 Million Baht for almost 2,000 Rai. I gather it has since changed ownership and is now under chemical cultivation.

The project ended up being shelved for Thailand, although I gather the principals involved have started elsewhere.

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I'm sorry. I have no details any more. As I said above, this was some eight years ago and we were searching for land suitable for organically growing medicinal herbs, among other things. We took soil and water samples from many tens of potentially availavble sites and gave them to a Maejo Professor who was then involved in the project, I'm afraid I have forgotten his name.

The only site that passed belonged to a locally well-known gentleman, a friend of the King. Unfortunately there was too much land there, and it was well beyond our budget at well over 1,000 Million Baht for almost 2,000 Rai. I gather it has since changed ownership and is now under chemical cultivation.

The project ended up being shelved for Thailand, although I gather the principals involved have started elsewhere.

No offense, but since there is no data of any kind here this will in my book go down as just one more unsubstantiated rumor....I was really hoping that you would come up with something.

So the good land was over 500,000 baht per rai....seems kind of steep....especially for such a large parcel.

Its difficult for me to believe that all the water in the north is so polluted that it would keep a farmer from meeting UK standards....from a few flowers being grown in the hills.

Edited by chownah

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By unsubstantiated, I assume you are referring to the part about the blame going only to the flower growing up in the hills. The fact that all water supplies (except one) tested with poisons seems definite, despite the paperwork no longer being available, as P1P had conducted the sampling personally. You might say this research is now out of date and I would have to agree. More likely the situation is now worse.

I am hoping there have been more current studies done and the source of the widespread poisoning will be tracked down. Because, the fact remains that there is some serious source of poison

in the Chiang Mai area as indicated by the fact that 95 per cent of Chiang Mai residents who were tested displayed unsafe levels of toxins in their blood.

I will say that I have heard from people connected with the industry that the flower growers do use an extremely high level of toxins and it does not surprise that if this is going on up in the hills that these poisons are then flowing down and collecting in the water supply. I hope one of you who are currently on the scene will be looking further into this.

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By unsubstantiated, I assume you are referring to the part about the blame going only to the flower growing up in the hills.  The fact that all water supplies (except one) tested with poisons seems definite, despite the paperwork no longer being available, as P1P had conducted the sampling personally.  You might say this research is now out of date and I would have to agree.  More likely the situation is now worse.

By unsubstantiated I mean that P1P has made some statements and no one has backed them up with data. No offense is meant by this, by the way. This is my reaction whenever anyone makes statements and there are no facts to back them up. I have not seen where P1P stated that he collected the samples himself. If he did do this then it would be great if he could post how he did the sampling and some sort of vague description of the geographic distribution etc. so that we could evaluate the approximate area he is referring to....also the time of year he sampled and whether this land was being actively farmed or being left fallow...was it rice land or upland...etc.

I am hoping there have been more current studies done and the source of the widespread poisoning will be tracked down.  Because, the fact remains that there is some serious source of poison

in the Chiang Mai area as indicated by the fact that 95 per cent of Chiang Mai residents who were tested displayed unsafe levels of toxins in their blood.

If you find out such a study please let me know....I'm very interested.

I will say that I have heard from people connected with the industry that the flower growers do use an extremely high level of toxins and it does not surprise that if this is going on up in the hills that these poisons are then flowing down and collecting in the water supply.  I hope one of you who are currently on the scene will be looking further into this.

It seems to me that the actual number of rai dedicated to flower growing is very small compared to other agricultural crops...maybe I am wrong about this. If so then it seems unlikely that flowers would be causing the problem. I'm reasonably certain that all of the officials and scientists that P1P and his co-workers dealt with were Thai and I'm reasonably certain that alot of the flower growers in the hills are hilltribe people....and believe me, 8 years ago and still today there is a lot of prejudice in the hearts of Thai people toward the mountain people...I have on many occasions heard of Thai people who blame all types of conceivable problems on the mountain people. The big orange growers who are a more likely source of pesticide contamination and they are all Thai. It seems perfectly plausible to me that they would shift blame to the mountain people since this lends some dignity to their enterprise in spite of the fact that it is rumored that these rich, politically well connected Thai orchardists obtained their land through theft and violence....and I have some direct experience of how 'education' works in Thailand and I fully believe that if rich Thai orchardists want to make a case that it is the mountain people who are causing the problem then it would be very easy for them to get academia to line up behind them and support their ideas.....of course I could be wrong about all of this.

And finally, if anyone makes the claim that it is impossible to raise organic crops in Thailand because all of the water and land are too polluted then I really want to investigate this fully for two reasons....first, if it is true then it is good if this fact comes out and is more widely recognized because then perhaps something will be done....and second also because if it is false then it is good if people are informed of this fact so that they can find out about where organic produce can be grown and consumers can, if they are willing to make some effort, obtain produce which is free of pesticide residues. I fully support any effort to make these facts known but it takes documented facts and I'm hoping that P1P can find some of his old data and present it here....or anyone else for that matter.

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Hmmm. Maybe let's get back to the basic issue here and see what we want to do. Chownah, I suspect that you and I and P1P as well as many others on this forum feel the same way.

It seems we have a serious problem with chemical poisoning in Chiang Mai based on the recent study mentioned in the OP.

Based on P1P's earlier research, in additition to what poisons are already being put directly on the commercially grown crops they also seem to be absorbing even more through the water supply. (And I believe P1P does say above, 3 seperate times, that he collected the samples (please correct me P1P if you were not personally involved)).

Further, if these poisons are so pervasive, then even supposed organic crops are loaded with poisons. Frustrating!

Chownah, I agree that we really need documented evidence of the degree and source of poisoning and this then needs to come to the attention of officials everywhere and the poisoning needs to stop wherever it exists.

What an ignorant age we live in. We put very toxic poisons on the food we eat. We additionally put poisons into our water supplies. Then we need scientific studies to prove to the decision makers that the poisons in our bodies are there because we are eating and drinking them. Absurd! Anyway it is a fact that we consumers are brainwashed by the spin doctors of the petro chemical industries and the politicians are both brainwashed and bribed by them, so scientific evidence is a sword we need.

Even if the 8 year old studies could be dug up (P1P, any chance these might be found in some file at Mae Jo or CMU?), I am sure we would need newer studies as well. Is anyone willing to do any leg work on this or are we just going to flap our jaws and forget about it next week and try to fool ourselves that what WE are eating could not possibly contain poisons (despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary).

If nothing else, 14 Oct. Nation article in hand, I will dig around the universities for support or collaboration on this when I get back, but that may be a long ways off as I may get sidetracked into any number of projects both in and outside of Thailand before returning. If anyone wants to spearhead this NOW and there is anything I can do with emailing people or doing research from here, email or PM me.

:o

On a side note regarding the need for these poisons. Anyone ever hear of the country of Cuba? Without digressing into politics, let's just say, that some decades back the US decided that they needed to be punished in many different ways. One of the punishments was that they were not to be permitted to buy any of these wonderful herbacides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers from the US or allies. They were forced to farm without them. It is a very odd fact that they continue to produce bumper organic crops to this day. Hmm, could it also be that there existed farming for all of the millenia before Monsanto? No, I guess that simply is not possible. At least that is what Monsanto and friends would have you believe.

:D

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I would suspect that most of the contamination comes after farming. I would think that modern pesticides would be removed by rinsing your veges however it would be best to rinse under running water rather than soaked in a bowl. That said it wouldn't surprise me if DDT was still being used and DDT has a long residual breakdown in soil. New Zealand milk is only at safe drinkable levels to this day because they mix contaminated south Is milk with lower contaminated North Is milk to meet the standards.

If you eat street noodles a lot then check out if the boiler in the cart is a one piece pressed sheet or the usual lead solded seems. It is common for fresh seafood to be preserved with some chemical in thailand. Don't know what is used but how does seafood remain fresh in 30 to 40 degree heat sitting on ice for a few days? and being transported on ice in a pickup until there sold to a vendor.

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Seeker108,

I hope you are right about P1P having collected the samples himself. When I read his posts it seems to me that he uses the pronoun 'we' to describe the activity but perhaps I'm wrong. In any case, regardless of his sentence construction, I do hope that you are right and that he searches his memory and posts some information about this sampling...things like I mentioned in my post above.

Chownah

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I'm sorry, I seem to have put the cat amongst the pigeons somewhat here. Perhaps I should give a little history.

I was approached by a foreign company to help them find land that would pass UK standards to be classed as organic. They were primarily interested in upland land, lowland rice paddy was not considered and they further required access to running water.

I made use of my local contacts to find land that might fit the bill. I visited at least 50% of the sites myself and took samples of water and a couple of core samples of soil about 12 inches deep. Similar samples were taken by another Farang at the other sites visited.

All samples and details of the land, with photographs etc. were passed on to the principals involved.

I never received the test results myself. My brief was simply to find the land and take samples for testing. I simply received verbal reports, hearsay if you will, that all sites bar one were poisoned.

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