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Study being conducted to find cause of gangrene in Nong Bua Lamphu farmers

The governor of Nong Bua Lamphu, a province in the Northeast Region, has ordered concerned officials to conduct a research to find out whether any kind of chemicals, particularly paraquat, is the cause of gangrene in farmers.

In Tambon Nadi of Suwannakhuha district, researchers from the Thailand Research Fund (TRF), are conducting a study to find out whether gangrene, a condition in which flesh decays in body parts, in farmers is related to use of paraquat, a chemical used for eradicating weeds.

Statistics show that at least 120 farmers suffering from gangrene seek treatment at Nong Bua Lamphu Hospital every year. In 2017, 102 farmers in the provinces suffered from gangrene in the first 10 months, and six of them died.

In the past five years, farmers have mainly used paraquat to kill weeds in sugarcane plantations, about 300,000 litres in Suwannakhuha district alone. It is estimated that at least 800,000 litres of paraquat is used per year in the province.

The researchers have found that farmers often use the chemical at an amount four times more than advised in the direction for use, thus increasing the chance of paraquat being left over in soil and water in a large quantity.

A high concentration of paraquat has been found in samples of soil and water. The chemical leftover and bacteria are believed to have attributed to causing gangrene.

Narongrit Channawa, leader of the research team, said it has not yet been concluded that paraquat is the cause of gangrene.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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