India's Supreme Court has ordered a two-month ban on the production and sale of a widely used pesticide that can cause nerve damage to humans and wildlife.

The top court has directed the government to produce a report within eight weeks on the harmful effects of endosulfan on people and the environment.

The court ordered the ban Friday in response to a petition seeking a countrywide ban on endosulfan, widely used in India to control pests threatening fruit, vegetable, tea, coffee, cotton and other crops.

The petitioners cited an increase in deaths and birth deformities in the southern Indian state of Kerala where endosulfan was sprayed on crops.

India produces about 70 percent of the world's supply of endosulfan.