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Laos: Banana workers sickened by chemicals used on Chinese-owned farms; pregnant workers especially at risk

Author: Radio Free Asia, Published on: 3 June 2018

"Lao Banana Workers Sickened by Chemicals Used on Farms", 30 May 2018

Lao workers at Chinese-operated banana plantations are falling ill in large numbers from exposure to chemicals used on the farms, with many suffering from respiratory or liver problems....

Lao government orders began closing down the environmentally destructive farms....

..."The chemicals affected their health after they had worked for even six months or one to two years in the fields," RFA's source said.... "Now they have liver problems, and are chronically tired and fatigued when they come to us, sometimes with related diseases."

Pregnant women working in the fields are especially at risk from chemical exposure....

...In a 2016 report...by Laos's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, six Lao farm workers died of pesticide or herbicide inhalation during the period 2012 to 2015, with three deaths reported in Champassak province....

...Illnesses and deaths have long been reported among Lao workers exposed to chemicals on foreign-owned farms, with many suffering open sores, headaches, and dizzy spells....

Chemical run-off from farms has also polluted many of the country's water sources, killing fish and other animals and leaving water from local rivers and streams unfit to drink....

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