ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gendered Impact of Endosulfan Poisoning

A Study from Palakkad District of Kerala

This study focuses on the health conditions of endosulfan victims, the socio-economic status of their households, and the impact on female caretakers of the endosulfan victims. It notes that endosulfan poisoning has a gendered impact and that the women caretakers bear the maximum brunt.


Endosulfan is a broad-spectrum organochlorine insecticide and acaricide which is used for controlling pests attacking fruits, vegetables and other crops (Amizadeh and Saryazdi 2011: 2). In 1963–64, it was initially used in the village of Kasaragod district for the cashew plantations (Solomon 2011: 2–3; Kumar and Jayakumar 2019: 343–49), which was owned by the Plantation Corporation of Kerala. In order to prevent tea mosquitoes, which attacked the cashews trees, the pesticide endosulfan was aerially sprayed thrice a year for around two decades. Endosulfan was also used in the mango orchards of Palakkad district of Kerala. Following this, it was found that there were deaths of land and aquatic animals. Children were born with deformities and there were more occurrences of miscarriages in the area. Various studies were conducted on this and it was reported that the usage of endosulfan led to these effects. One such study was done by the National Institute of Occupational Health. The report of this study was dismissed by the union government (Solomon 2011: 2–3). Although there were controversies, the Kerala government imposed a ban on the usage of endosulfan in 2001 (Irshad and Joseph 2015: 61–65; Russel 2015: 73–78).

It is in this context that this study on the endosulfan victims in Palakkad is conducted. The study is important because, unlike in the case of endosulfan victims in Kasaragod, which has been the focus of many studies, the victims of this pesticide in Palakkad have hardly ever been even documented.

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Updated On : 4th Dec, 2021
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