Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has challenged supporters of paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos to spell out the merits of the chemicals to him directly.

Why has nobody declared the benefits of the three substances and told us how good they are in a debate? If they insist they are good because they are cheap and it does not matter whether people die or not, just say so. Why do they have to pretend to be stupid? said the Bhumjaithai party leader when asked whether he would talk with Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit about the matter.

As far as the Bhumjaithai party is concerned, Mr .Anutin confirmed that he and Deputy Agriculture Minister Ms. Mananya Thaiseth agree that the toxic weed killers must be banned outright for the safety of the public.

He said Ms. Mananya had told him that there are safer alternatives and they should be used, even if they are more expensive, and the government must find ways to provide subsidies to farmers if they are forced to use them.

The minister also branded as cowards those who had made death threats against two members of the House committee studying the issue.

Come and try to intimidate me or Ms. Mananya instead, said Mr Anutin, as he assured the two victims of intimidation that they will be protected.

Reiterating his determination to press for the complete ban of substances within this year, he disclosed that he had torn up a letter from the Public Health Ministry, written by a senior official, about the ministry following the decision of the National Hazardous Substances Committee to merely restrict the use of the three controversial substances.

He ordered the letter to be rewritten to state that the Public Health Ministry backs a complete ban.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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