Thailand has introduced rules to reduce the use of pesticides and other chemicals following reports of high chemical residues in fruit.

Villagers living near tangerine orchards have complained of dizziness, rashes and breathing difficulties, which they attribute to toxic fumes and chemical residue in groundwater, which can itself be traced to pesticides.

The new measures are being implemented on the direct orders of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and cover 13 pesticides on a so-called watch list of dangerous chemicals, as well as paraquat, which is known to be toxic and banned in a number of European countries, and carbofuran, which is widely used by rice farmers.

While 82 pesticides have been banned in Thailand since 1977, some 300 pesticides are still permitted, 200 more than in many countries.