Page 1

PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

The journal of Pesticide Action Network UK An international perspective on the health and environmental effects of pesticides Quarterly

December 2010

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 1

Pesticides News No 90 Editorial 2 Environmental effects

EU regulation

3

20 Diazinon – the problem with multiple

Role of pesticides in UK farmland bird decline

regulatory regimes

Risk assessment

Factsheet

6

21 Diazinon

Rapid risk assessment of pesticide use in Ethiopia

Pesticide reduction in Europe 11 Significant pesticide reductions possible in Europe

News 10 Paraquat a major cause of poisoning in West Africa

16 French farmers and Integrated

10 UK man poisoned by paraquat 15 Cotton pesticides implicated in fatal

Illegal trade

23 PAN Europe competition to find ‘Bee-

Production of wheat

12 Poisonings in South Africa from super strength street pesticides

International trade 18 Pesticide export – from the harbour of

poisonings in Benin

friendly Farmer of the Year’ - British entrants needed!

New PAN resources 23 New paraquat monograph

Hamburg to the world

Pesticide Action Network UK Development House 56-64 Leonard Street London EC2A 4LT, UK Tel +44 (0)20 7065 0905 Fax +44 (0)20 7065 0907 Email admin@pan-uk.org

www.pan-uk.org www.pan-international.org links to all PAN Regional Centres

Liquid street pesticides mixed with water and decanted into old alcohol bottles (aldicarb sachets in the foreground) Photo: Tembinkosi Qondela


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 2

Editorial

Pesticides News 90

On the centre pages of December’s Pesticides News read about the ‘street pesticide’ vendors in South Africa. Poor housing and sanitation in the townships of Cape Town mean that pest outbreaks are commonplace and demand for cheap and effective pest control is high. This has led to a black market in illegal pesticide sales. Vendors purchase agricultural pesticides illegally and decant them into small and mostly unlabelled bottles or containers which are sold on at taxi ranks, on street corners and at train stations for domestic use. The pesticides involved are highly toxic and local hospital files show that most children admitted for pesticide poisoning have consumed such ‘street pesticides’. The solution to this problem will not come easily. It will not take the form of cracking down on the impoverished street vendors. It will require policy solutions to tackle the poor housing, poor sanitation and poor infrastructure that have led to the problem in the first place. Read about advances being made by agronomists and wheat farmers in the Picardy region of France (page 20). For over a decade they have been conducting trials to develop strategies for growing large-scale arable crops with reduced reliance on pesticides. Over 70 trials have been carried out comparing conventional practice with Integrated Production (IP) on commercial farms. A small reduction in wheat yield was more than offset by reduced input costs such that IP wheat was slightly more profitable to farmers than conventional wheat. Their results are impressive and should encourage farmers elsewhere to adopt similar strategies. Read about the impact of pesticides on birds (page 3). In the UK the most notable bird poisonings are deliberate and target birds of prey. Where the perpetrators of these callous acts have been identified they have often been individuals seeking to protect game for commercial reasons. However, the most significant population level effects are on farmland birds which have halved in numbers over the past 40 years. The effects on these species are indirect and are due to reductions in food (insects or seed) or changes in habitat caused by the heavy reliance on pesticides and other changes in agriculture. The UK’s Royal Society for Protection of Birds has been trialling management strategies which seek to support increased biodiversity within a commercial farm Online subscription setting. Numbers of farmland birds have trebled Subscribers can now beneon their trial farm in Cambridgeshire during the fit from an online searchable version of Pesticides News ten years they have been running it.

(September 1993 to the current issue) with the following username and password (changed twice a year): Username: subscriber Password: carbaryl

PAN Germany has carried out research on pesticide export from the port of Hamburg in Germany (page 16). The International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides recommends that in developing countries hazardous pesticides which require the use of prohibitively expensive or uncomfortable personal protective clothing should not be used. PAN Germany found that 77 highly hazardous pesticides were being exported from Hamburg.

Pesticide Action Network – Regional Centres AFRICA PAN Africa BP 15938, Dakar-FANN Senegal Tel: (221) 33 825 4914 Fax: (221) 33 825 1443 panafrica@pan-afrique.org www.pan-afrique.org

2

ASIA/PACIFIC PAN Asia and the Pacific PO Box 1170 10850 Penang, Malaysia Tel: (60-4) 657 0271 Fax: (60-4) 658 3960 panap@panap.net www.panap.net

EUROPE PAN Europe is facilitated by PAN UK and PAN Germany www.pan-europe.info elliott@pan-europe.info PAN Germany Nernstweg 32 22765 Hamburg, Germany Tel: (49-40) 399 191022 Fax: (49-40) 390 7520 info@pan-germany.org www.pan-germany.org www.pan-international.org links to all PAN Regional Centres

LATIN AMERICA RAPAL (PAN Latin America) Coordinadora Regional Av. Providencia No365, depto. No41 Providencia, Santiago de Chile Tel/Fax: (56-2) 341 6742 rapal@rapal.cl www.rap-al.org NORTH AMERICA PAN North America 49 Powell St., 5th Floor San Francisco, CA 94102, US Tel: (1-415) 981 1771 Fax: (1-415) 981 1991 panna@panna.org www.panna.org

December 2010

Who’s who at Pesticide Action Network UK Dr Keith Tyrell Director Nick Mole Policy Officer Dr Roslyn McKendry Editor, Pesticides News Eliza Anyangwe International Project Officer (Cotton) Phil Monday Project Officer (Africa Liaison) Dr Stephanie Williamson International Project Officer (Food and Farming) Ruth Beckmann Project Information Officer Liz Kabiro Finance and Admin Manager Geremew Tereda Accounts Articles published in Pesticides News promote health, safety, environmental commitment and alternatives to pesticides as well as debate. The authors’ views are not necessarily those of the Pesticide Action Network UK. Initials at the end of articles refer to staff contributions to Pesticides News. Abbreviations and acronyms used ACP Advisory Committee on Pesticides CRA Comparative Risk Assessment EA Environment Agency (UK) EC European Commission EPA Environmental Protection Agency (US) EU European Union FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations FFS Farmer Field School FSA Food Standards Agency HSE Health and Safety Executive ILO International Labour Organisation IPM Integrated pest management LD50 lethal dose for 50% of population µg/kg parts per billion MRLs Maximum Residue Limits mg/l parts per million NGO Non government organisation OECD Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development OP Organophosphate (pesticide) PAN Pesticide Action Network PIC Prior Informed Consent PN Pesticides News UNEP United Nations Environment Programme

© Pesticide Action Network UK Please credit Pesticide Action Network UK when quoting articles ISSN 0967-6597 Printed on recycled paper


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 3

Environmental effects

Pesticides News 90

December 2010

Role of pesticides in UK farmland bird decline In the UK the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. It first became involved in farmland bird conservation around 20 years ago when it became apparent that many countryside songbird species were in sharp decline. UK farmland bird numbers have declined by 50% since the mid-1970s. In response the charity has built up a large team working in this area, researching the science behind species recovery, developing policy for decision makers and offering advice directly to farmers. Lucy Bjorck of the RSPB reports. Concern about the effects of pesticides hit the headlines after the emergence of organochlorine insecticides in the 1950s and 1960s. Populations of sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus and other birds of prey had declined and the cause was found to be a decrease in the thickness of their eggshells (causing eggs to break during incubation) and direct mortality from ingesting organochlorines1. The chemicals responsible were withdrawn from use allowing populations of the affected species to recover in the subsequent decades. However, birds are not only affected by these organochlorine pesticides. Birds of prey are threatened by deliberate poisonings (see photo p4) and rodenticides cause accidental secondary poisonings when poisoned rodents are consumed. However, there is little evidence that pesticides are currently having significant population effects via direct toxicity2.

Farmland bird decline Despite the success in tackling organochlorine pesticide poisoning of birds there has been a sustained decline in populations of

farmland birds. The Farmland Bird Index (figure 1) is used by government to monitor the health of our wildlife. It measures the abundance of a suite of nineteen farmland bird species and the latest results show that their numbers continue to decline. The smoothed index for England is now 53% below the 1966 starting level, its lowest recorded value. The severity of declines and the reasons for them vary – skylarks Alauda arvensis are down 50% having suffered from loss of nesting and foraging habitat in fields3. Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella numbers have fallen 54% driven largely by a decline in availability of winter seeds4,5. And grey partridge Perdix perdix populations, down 84%, have been devastated by a lack of summer insects to feed on6. These changes in the nesting, foraging habitat and food abundance are a result of the major changes that have taken place in agricultural practices in post war Britain7. These changes include simplification of cropping patterns, a move from hay to silage systems, changes in the timing of operations, the loss of field margin habitats, improved drainage and a rise in use of agri-

Figure 1. Farmland Bird Index for England

Yellowhammer

Photo: RSPB

cultural chemicals . These changes have made agriculture both more productive and efficient but have also reduced the resources that farmland biodiversity relies on. In seeking to arrest this decline it is important to work with the farming community to find solutions for wildlife that are in keeping with economically-viable farming. 8,9

Indirect effects A major concern for farmland bird conservation is the indirect effects of pesticides. These mainly come in the form of a reduction in food supplies. Insecticides remove large numbers of invertebrates from the food chain while herbicides reduce the availability of seed bearing weeds, and can have indirect effects on invertebrate populations via the removal of food plants. The grey partridge Perdix perdix remains the species for which the most incontrovertible evidence exists for pesticide-related decline. A long-term Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust study has shown insecticide and herbicide use have reduced chick survival, due to decreased invertebrate availability, to a sufficient extent to cause population declines10. Further research has shown a connection between pesticides and abundance of insect food resulting in reduced chick mass and nest survival for corn bunting and yellowhammer11. In other areas the data can be ambiguous – for instance, various studies on the impact of pesticides on skylarks Alauda arvensis have shown contradictory results. Studies12,13 have also shown that overwinter stubbles following spring cereals with lower pesticide inputs support higher densities of cirl bunting Emberiza cirlus, yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella and reed bunting Emberiza schoeniclus.

Developing solutions Source: Defra

The indirect effects of pesticide use on birds can be mitigated by applying the principles of integrated pest management (IPM)

3


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 4

Environmental effects including crop rotation, cultivation techniques, careful spraying practices and protection and enhancement of important beneficial organisms to replace the resources removed by pesticides. These practices underpin organic systems but are not always pursued rigorously in the conventional sector. In the UK agri-environment schemes funded under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) provide one means of replacing these resources. Options to mitigate the indirect effects of pesticides included in the English Entry Level Stewardship scheme include conservation headlands, flower mixtures, wild bird seed mixtures, fallow plots and overwinter stubbles. In Scotland, the equivalent Land Managers’ Options scheme allows farmers to undertake options such as wild bird seed mixtures, grass margins, beetlebanks, conservation headlands, biodiversity cropping and retention of winter stubbles. Similar measures can be found in agri-environment schemes in Wales and Northern Ireland. In England these options are currently being promoted as measures to support the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, the voluntary approach to replace the environmental benefits of set-aside. The Campaign is backed by the National Farmers Union, the Country Land and Business Association and others and aims to meet targets for the uptake of certain crucial agri environment measures by 2012. One of the most serious declines in farmland birds is that of the turtle dove Streptopelia turtur. Populations have fallen 88% since 1970. The species no longer breeds in Wales and there are fears it could disappear as a breeding bird in England. Research shows that while they once routinely nested three or more times a year, one or two attempts are now the norm, probably as parents struggle to find sufficient food to attain and maintain breeding condition14. As the only migratory bird which survives solely on seeds it is believed a major factor in their decline is the reduction of certain arable weeds from the farmed coun-

Pesticides News 90

December 2010

Birds of prey such as this red kite have been found deliberately killed

tryside, including fumitory, clover and vetch, as a result of herbicide use. In the 1960's, arable weeds, including fumitory and chickweed, made up more than 75% of adult diet, but parents are now heavily reliant on cultivated wheat and oilseed crops15. An RSPB project currently underway will see trial plots planted with summer-seeding plants on several farms across East Anglia with the hope of developing a new agri-environment scheme option to combat the turtle dove decline.

Providing advice The success of reversing the decline in farmland bird numbers relies on farmers and land managers and their stewardship of the land. The RSPB’s Volunteer and Farmer Alliance was launched ten years ago to provide free bird surveys for farmers. By highlighting the species which already occur on their farm it can help identify the best management to secure their future. Currently this service provides advice to around 600 farmers every year. RSPB also provides a wealth of advisory leaflets to help farmers hone their management and now produces a dedicated e-newsletter for farmers.

Photo: RSPB

Testing management strategies In 2000 RSPB purchased Hope Farm in Cambridgeshire. Our aim was to demonstrate that it is possible both to be a profitable conventional farmer and to support a wealth of biodiversity. The 180 hectare farm is run as a commercial arable business and features a variety of wildlife friendly measures including wild flower margins, wild bird seed mixtures and skylark plots. Farmland bird numbers on the farm have trebled in the ten years since the project started. Integrated pest management is a key part of the overall farm strategy at Hope Farm which aims to maximise the economic and environmental benefits to the business. Techniques employed under IPM include: ● widening the crop rotation from a three year rotation of winter wheat: winter wheat: oilseed rape to a four year rotation of winter wheat: oilseed rape: winter wheat: spring beans. This reduces reliance on inputs and reduces the impacts of pests and diseases. ● a full range of cultivation techniques are employed to minimise the impacts of

Table 1. Evidence for the indirect effects of pesticides on farmland birds Effect of pesticides Species Grey partridge

Effect of chick food availability

Food abundance

Foraging behaviour

Chick condition

a

a

a

Chick growth rate

Barn Swallow

a

a

a

NS

a NSa

Skylark

4

Effect of breeding performance on population change

a

Red-legged partridge Pheasant

Brood size/ chick survival

a

NSa

NSa

a

a

Yellowhammer

a

a

a

Corn Bunting

a

a

a

a

a Statistically significant effect demonstrated in at least one study; NS, study showed no significance a lack of statistical significance may be due to small sample size N Boatman, N Brickle, J Hart, T Milsom, A Morris, A Murray, K Murray, P Robertson, 2004, Evidence for the indirect effects of pesticides on farmland birds, Ibis 146 (Suppl. 2), 131–143.


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 5

Environmental effects

Pesticides News 90

December 2010

Pesticides and farmland birds – the future At the time of writing, we are awaiting the outcome of the government’s consultation on the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD). This piece of European legislation is designed to reduce the impact of pesticides on health and the environment. The SUD champions the use of IPM providing a great opportunity to ensure that farmers are making the most of the range of pest control techniques available. We hope that the government will use this opportunity to implement measures to further reduce the negative impacts of pesticides and help deliver a countryside rich in wildlife.

Management practices at Hope Farm have trebled bird numbers in the past 10 years Photo: RSPB

weeds, pests and diseases including stale seed beds, varying methods of tillage, sowing techniques, dates and densities. ● choosing varieties with good resistance ratings. For example, all our wheat is orange blossom midge resistant removing the need to apply insecticide in early summer. ● creating insect and seed rich habitats through our Entry Level Stewardship Agreement. This provides food for the birds and habitats for the insects.

Pesticide poisoning As well as the indirect effects of agricultural chemicals discussed above, farmland wildlife can also be threatened by deliberate direct poisoning and accidental secondary poisoning. The illegal poisoning of wildlife remains a major problem in the UK, with 158 reports received during 2009, including 85 confirmed poison abuse incidents involving the poisoning of at least 81 individual birds or animals16. In 2006 the UK Government’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) enacted controls on possessions of pesticides, under Section 43 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act, which would make it an offence to be in possession of one of a list of poisons that have no legitimate use. However, four years later, the list of proscribed substances has still not been populated, and so this potentially useful tool in the fight against illegal poisoning remains dormant in England and Wales. In contrast, the Scottish Government enacted such controls in the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and it is now considered a vital piece of legislation, with several resulting convictions. There is also little deterrent value from the small punishments handed down by the courts for illegal pesticide use. In June 2009, experienced gamekeeper Mark Partridge of Powys, Wales pleaded guilty at Welshpool Magistrates Court to unlawful

storage of rodenticides and alphachloralose, and unlawful use of the latter contrary to the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985. He was fined just £100 with £100 costs. An additional penalty which can be applied is to link the offence to cross compliance. Cross compliance is the set of rules to which land mangers must adhere in order to receive their single farm payment under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Under cross compliance it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird (unless operating under a licence) and it is an offence to use prohibited means to kill or take wild birds even where the killing may be lawful. Breaking these rules can result in a reduction in single farm payment. By targeting those who are in receipt of CAP payments this measure can help ensure that those who may be responsible for encouraging the misuse of pesticides are penalised. Issues surrounding the indirect poisoning of wildlife with rodenticides still cause concern. Scavenging birds such as red kites Milvus milvus are particularly at risk from secondary poisoning as a result of picking up dead rats, particularly those who have ingested the more toxic ‘second-generation’ rodenticides. A single rat killed with the most toxic of these can result in the death of an entire nest full of kite chicks. Other species such as pole cats Mustela putorius, barn owls Tyto alba, buzzards Buteo buteo and kestrels Falco tinnunculus have also been found dead in the UK as a result of secondary poisoning from rodenticides. The booklet Rat Poison and the Threats to Wildlife, produced jointly by the RSPB, Natural England and others provides realistic, practical advice to landowners on how to prevent and control rodent infestations, while limiting the risk of accidentally poisoning non-target wildlife.

References 1. Newton I. 1995. The contribution of some recent research on birds to ecological understanding. J. Anim. Ecol. 64: 675–696 2. Burn AJ. 2000. Pesticides and their effects on lowland farmland birds. In Aebischer, N.J., Evans, AD, Grice PV and Vickery JA. (eds) Ecology and Conservation of Lowland Farmland Birds: 89–104. Tring: British Ornithologists’ Union 3. Donald PF, Evans AD, Muirhead LB, Buckingham DL, Kirby WB and Schmitt SIA. 2002. Survival rates, causes of failure and productivity of Skylark Alauda arvensis nests on lowland farmland. Ibis 144: 652–664 4. Morris AJ, Bradbury RB and Wilson JD. 2002. Indirect effects of pesticides on breeding yellowhammers Emberiza citrinella. BCPC Conf. – Pests Dis. 2002: 965–970 5. Morris AJ, Wilson JD, Whittingham MJ and Bradbury RB. 2004. Evidence for indirect effects of pesticides on breeding yellowhammers Emberiza citrinella. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 6. Potts GR. 1986. The Partridge: Pesticides, Predation and Conservation. London: Collins 7. Newton I. 2004. The recent declines of farmland bird populations in Britain. An appraisal of causal factors and conservation actions. Ibis 146: 579–600. 8. Chamberlain DE, Fuller RJ, Bunce RGH, Duckworth JC and Shrubb MJ. 2000. Changes in the abundance of farmland birds in relation to the timing of agricultural intensification in England and Wales. J. Appl. Ecol. 37: 71–788. 9. Donald PF, Green RE and Heath MF. 2001a. Agricultural intensification and the collapse of Europe’s farmland bird populations. Proc. Royal Soc. Lond. B 268: 25–29 10. A Review of Indirect Effects of Pesticides on Birds, RSPB Research Report No 28, April 2008. 11. Op cit 10 12. Peach WJ, Siriwardena GM and Gregory RD. (1999), Long-term changes in over-winter survival rates explain the decline of reed buntings Emberiza schoeniclus in Britain. Journal of Applied Ecology, 36: 798–811. doi: 10.1046/j.13652664.1999.00445.x 13. Chamberlain D, Fuller R, Bunce R, Duckworth J and Shrubb M. (2000), Changes in the abundance of farmland birds in relation to the timing of agricultural intensification in England and Wales. Journal of Applied Ecology, 37: 771–788. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2664.2000.00548.x 14. Browne SJ and Aebischer NJ. 2004. Temporal changes in the breeding ecology of European Turtle Doves Streptopelia turtur in Britain, and implications for conservation. Ibis 146: 125–137 15. Op. cit. 14 16. RSPB, Birdcrime report, 2009.

Lucy Bjorck, Senior Agriculture Policy Officer, RSPB, Lucy.Bjorck@rspb.org.uk

5


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 6

Risk assessment

Pesticides News 90

Rapid risk assessment of pesticide use in Ethiopia PAN partners’ work to document patterns of pesticide use and practices by Ethiopian smallholder farmers has generated valuable information for policy makers. As part of the PAN partner capacity building component of this work, partners carried out a Rapid Risk Assessment exercise on the most commonly used pesticides with the aid of ‘how to’ guidance from Colin Tingle and Ian Grant. Here, Colin and Ian describe the ‘example’ Rapid Risk Assessments they produced on 2,4-D and DDT as a training tool, for this exercise. These give policy makers and others an indication of the most important risks from the PAN partner survey findings. As part of the African Stockpiles Program (ASP) and PAN UK’s Pesticides and Poverty project, NGO partners in Ethiopia carried out surveys on pesticide use patterns and impacts in the Rift Valley. One survey covered cotton production in the Awash Valley [described in PN85pp10-12]. A second looked at smallholder cereal production in the districts of Ziway and Arsi Negele around 200km south-east of the capital, Addis Ababa. Four of the Rift Valley lakes are found here, important for commercial fisheries and for the diet of local people. These ecosystems are home to a large number of bird species and other wildlife. The lakes and their surrounding areas, such as the alkaline salt marshes, are particularly important for aquatic and insectivorous Palaearctic migrant birds and used to be sanctuaries for large numbers of Great White Pelican, and Greater and Lesser Flamingo. Over four hundred species of birds have been registered in the area, including Ostrich, Imperial Eagle, Lesser Kestrel and Wattled Crane. Other wildlife includes Greater Kudu, Grant’s gazelle, Warthog, Klipspringer and Jackal. Lake Ziway also provides a habitat for indigenous Tilapia fish species.

Survey findings

6

In 2007, PAN partner, the Institute for Sustainable Development, trained local secondary school students and teachers to collect data on pesticide use patterns, using a questionnaire survey of 422 farmers sampled in 23 villages1. Survey responses revealed that pesticides are widely used (94% respondents), and farmers estimated a 50% increase in pesticide use during the period 2005 to 2007. Hazardous practices were rife, with fewer than half of farmers using any form of protective clothing, and 50% of households reporting using empty

pesticide containers to store food or drink. The most frequently used pesticides were herbicides 2,4-D and U-46 (presumed to be mecoprop), both reported by 45.7% of farmers, followed by the insecticide DDT (reported by 28.7% of farmers). DDT is banned for agricultural use in Ethiopia and for any use other than public health under the Stockholm POPs Convention, so it is of serious concern that so many smallholders are obtaining it illegally and that the country’s malaria control operations are a possible source.

Assessing the risks In order to give Ethiopian policymakers and other responsible parties concerned with pesticide registration and management a better picture of the specific risks posed to human health, wildlife and the environment from the data on pesticide practices obtained in the survey, Rapid Risk Assessments (RRA) were conducted for two of the most commonly used pesticides, 2,4-D and DDT. RRA is a method developed to evaluate the capacity of a chemical to cause harm (its toxicity), and the potential for particular environmental compartments and humans to be exposed to the chemical in a particular situation. The toxicity (dose-response) assessment is a measure of the extent and type of negative effects associated with a particular level of exposure, and the exposure assessment is a measure of the extent and duration of exposure of an individual, population or environmental compartment (such as soil, water, fauna). The RRA assessed (to the extent feasible in the circumstances) the risks specific to the particular formulations and rates of 2,4-D and DDT identified by the survey under the conditions specific to the target areas (including habitats, flora and fauna,

December 2010

soil types, topography, hydrology). Insufficient data were available to allow a truly quantitative risk assessment to be made. The RRA is thus largely qualitative, but with quantitative elements included wherever possible.

Rapid risk assessment of 2,4-D 2,4-D is a herbicide containing three kinds of active ingredients: most common is the dimethylammonium salt of 2,4dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, but the ethylhexyl [EH] and other esters are possible. In Ethiopia, soluble liquid (SL) and emulsifiable concentrate (EC) are the 2,4-D herbicide formulations mentioned in the pesticide registration documentation. Given that 45% of farmers applied this herbicide and the average holding size is around 3.35 ha, it can be assumed that approximately 635 ha within the two study districts had been treated with 2,4-D in a single year, probably sprayed twice annually for the control of a variety of broad-leaved weeds. The recommended rate of application for 2,4-D in Ethiopia is unknown, however, other studies have found between 0.46 l/ha and 3 l/ha of 2,4-D being applied in Ethiopia. Assuming these rates and that formulations had been mixed as instructed on the label, then 331.2-2160 g ha-1 or 33-216 mg m-2 of active ingredient would have been released from sprays. The survey was not designed to collect data on either the accuracy or target coverage of the pesticides applied. Thus, for the purposes of this RRA, it is assumed that 50% hit the target weeds, leaving 165.6-1080 g ha-1 or 16.5-108 mg m-2 to have been deposited on the soil surface. Given that about 70% of farmers could not guarantee that they followed instructions, it is necessary to increase this range in both directions. Assuming a 50% error in dose rate (including dilution errors and application rate errors) could be made in either direction would mean that from 8216 mg m-2 of the herbicide would have ended up on the target weeds and the same quantity would have been deposited on the soil.

Risk to flora and fauna After estimating the range of likely 2,4-D amounts ending up on soil and foliage, potential risks to various flora and fauna are estimated using published toxicity data [see Information sources listed below for some of the key ones used]. At the higher end of the estimated levels (>200 mg m-2), there is clearly a high risk to non-target terrestrial, broadleaved vegetation in the locality of 2,4-D applications. This, in turn, may provide a low to moderate level of risk for natural enemies of crop pests and their beneficial activities due to loss of vegetation causing problems such as nectar shortages and lack of shelter. However, the direct risk of toxicity to surface active invertebrates (such as, predatory beetles, millipedes) would appear to be low. Similarly, there appears to be a low risk for


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 7

Risk assessment

those species of parasitic wasps known to be sensitive to 2,4-D. The risk to soil invertebrates, including some species of earthworms known to be sensitive to 2,4-D (such as, Eisenia foetida) is low, given an estimated 2–4 ppm in the top 10 cm of soil. There does not appear to be any risk of acute toxicity to bees, given that 0.094 mg/bee would have to be accumulated from flowers visited to reach the oral LD50 in which 50% of the bee population would be killed by the herbicide. However, quantifying the risk is difficult because data on the rate of accumulation of this concentration of 2,4-D is lacking. For the same reason, the risk to successful brood production in bees is also hard to quantify, despite knowing that 100 ppm of 2,4-D reduces brood production by 98%. Also, this risk factor may be complicated by findings that low levels of contamination with 2,4-D can lead to enhanced brood survival. In wet seasons, with moist soils, tropical temperatures and high irradiance will accelerate degradation, resulting in a half life of a few days. Risks to soil algae and fungi, if any, are thus likely to be short lived. Any risk to soil invertebrates will also be short lived. There may be a high risk to nitrogen fixing bacteria associated with legumes that survive the application, as these have shown reduced numbers of root

Pesticides News 90

nodules on plants subjected to 1 ppm 2,4-D. Soil functions such as organic matter (OM) breakdown and nutrient recycling are highly unlikely to be at risk from 2,4-D use and any effect would be localised. Without specific information on bird fauna and abundance in the study area or data on 2,4-D toxicity to African bird species, risks to birds are impossible to quantify. However, given the identification of low to moderate risk to woodland birds in the USA2 a higher level of risk has to be acknowledged for Ziway and Arsi Negele given the potentially high application rates and the wide-ranging use of the herbicide. There is also a relatively high risk of significant habitat alteration and effects on wild plants in and around sprayed fields, which could affect food sources for birds – both seeds for grain-eating species and invertebrates for insectivores and omnivores. However, the range of bird species and abundance in the Rift Valley agro-ecosystems is likely to be somewhat lower than in woodland in the USA; thus, on balance, a low to moderate risk to birds is probable (BUT assumptions made here need verifying). The Rift Valley of Ethiopia with its series of lakes is a major flyway for palearctic migrants, particularly insectivores such as swallows and martins, and many wetland species. There is thus a

December 2010

potential risk to such wetland passage migrant birds of the Ziway and Arsi Negele areas. Toxicity to mammals from 2,4-D is of a similar order to that of birds. Low to moderate risk to small rodents and perhaps other small mammals is thus a possibility in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. This risk could also be exacerbated by loss of cover from plants being killed, and of food sources, as with birds. However, no data is available of the composition and abundance of small mammal fauna in the agro-ecosystems to which the 2,4-D is applied in the Rift Valley communities under investigation and adverse impacts on small mammals in the USA has been highly species specific. The risk of chronic toxicity to jackals may also be moderate if they frequent the areas around the surveyed villages, given the sensitivity of dogs to 2,4-D. Domestic dogs are at moderate risk of health effects (even mortality), if they come regularly into contact with the herbicide, particularly when it is stored in parts of the home accessible to dogs. Knapsack sprayers commonly used by farmers deliver a range of larger droplets, reducing the risk of airborne herbicide transport to water. Run off in water and soil particles after heavy rainfall could result in some deposition of 2,4-D in surface waters

7


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 8

Risk assessment

8

(furrows, pools, streams), but degradation would probably be fairly rapid. It is unlikely that this occurs to any significant extent, thus risks to aquatic wildlife are likely to be negligible (even to those fish which are sensitive to 2,4-D; possibly low risk from the EH ester). Despite high susceptibility of pond weeds and certain other aquatic plants to 2,4-D, they are unlikely to be significantly disrupted by the very small quantities which seem likely to reach waterways from run-off. There is inadequate data on the distance of crop fields from the lakes (including the soda lakes) to make an assessment of the risk to this important habitat. Certainly, if 2,4-D were to get into these lakes in significant concentrations, then the risks to important wildlife would be high. The soda lake food chains are based on blue-green algae, which would be highly sensitive to 2,4-D. The survey found 23% of farmers prepared pesticide tankloads close to water sources. Farmers spraying adjacent to open waterways and/or washing out their spray tanks in a pond or stream would clearly raise the concentration in water and thus

Pesticides News 90

increase the risk to aquatic wildlife, but they are still likely to be in the low to moderate range (except from the EH ester, where risk could be high or even very high). Given the extent of usage of 2,4-D and poor training in pesticide management, risk of significant mortality of fish, amphibians and invertebrates is a possibility, particularly from the 2,4-D EH ester, but would be difficult to quantify without more data. Most available 2,4-D formulations are of less toxic salts, and not the generally more toxic acid. Hence, the above assessment implies negligible to low risk from the assumed usage levels. 2,4-D does not bioaccumulate, so this is not a risk. Mis-use may lead to low to moderate risk to both terrestrial and aquatic environments, depending on the formulation applied; the risk from the EH ester to aquatic ecosystems may be higher with misuse. It is important for farmers to understand that over-use of herbicides may have a detrimental effect on beneficial insects and invertebrates within their cropping systems and lead to a higher risk of crop losses.

December 2010

Human health risks from 2,4-D Given the levels of poor understanding of pesticides and poor pesticide management uncovered by the survey, it is clear that there is a significant risk to those who use and apply 2,4-D as a spray. Eye and skin irritation are a high risk; coughing, dizziness, lack of coordination, weakness, fatigue and possibly nausea are all also likely in those applying the herbicide, and over 30% of the respondents in the survey noted some health problems after using pesticides. Irreversible eye damage can occur from the amine salt and risks from this should be taken seriously. Liver, kidney and nervous system disfunction is a risk from prolonged exposure. Birth defects and cancer are low risk, but evidence on the latter is uncertain. A precautionary approach is recommended (that is to avoid use where nonessential) and use of protective clothing is important in reducing the risk where 2,4-D is used. Risks to villagers in general are moderate, given the high use rates within the community. However, waterways used for


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 9

Risk assessment

Pesticides News 90

Table 1. Summary of most significant risks from DDT use by survey farmers Environmental risks

Human health risks

High risk to birds of prey and a range of insectivorous birds (perhaps up to 30% of species). These groups may suffer serious population decline (90% reductions) and certain raptors may even disappear completely from sprayed areas following three or more years of DDT application. About 8.5% of woodland songbird species are potentially at risk.

Significant risk to those who use and apply DDT as a spray of contamination to skin, eyes, etc. and possibly even ingestion.

Moderate to high risk to reptiles, particularly snakes and lizards whose populations risk declining by up to 40% (possibly higher for snakes) in areas treated twice or more.

Low risk of acute toxic effects associated with DDT exposure.

Moderate to high risk of disruption to pest/natural enemy balance within cropping systems, depending on the crop and application rates and methods, plus risk of pest resurgence and development of DDT resistance in target pests.

Key risks of contamination to children from accidental ingestion of DDT stored within the house (as little as 2 g of DDT 75% WP may be fatal).

High and serious risks to aquatic fauna if DDT gets into water courses, especially for filter-feeding molluscs and bottomdwelling fish.

Key risk to families through eating contaminated fish or other fresh water animals caught locally.

High risk of accumulation of residue levels through the aquatic food chain from run-off after crop spraying, with low to moderate risk to populations of fish-eating birds.

Key risk to families through drinking dirty water contaminated with DDT residues accumulated in sediment. Feasible that contamination levels could reach 10 µg l-1, the level judged by the US EPA to increase the chance of developing cancer by less than 1 in 10,000 if consumed everyday over a person’s lifetime.

Moderate to high risk from poor pesticide practices, such as washing spray tanks in streams, to aquatic invertebrates, some species of fish and particularly to fish-eating birds.

High risk of infants ingesting DDT residues in breast milk over 5-6 mg kg-1 day-1, exceeding WHO Acceptable Daily Intake level for infants.

High risk of some disruption of the ecological balance of the aquatic ecosystems.

Unquantifiable but probably low risks of a range of chronic ill health effects associated with DDT exposure.

Low risks to amphibians, soil invertebrates, bats and other insectivorous mammals.

washing or drinking water are at distinct risk of becoming contaminated, and the risk of minor chronic health problems (and possibly acute problems, particularly to eyes) within the village populations are undoubtedly present. Given the very low Maximum Contaminant Level Goal recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency for 2,4-D3, it is possible that these may be exceeded for short periods.

Rapid risk assessment of DDT A similar process of identifying risk factors, use patterns, exposure scenarios and

December 2010

kg ha-1 dose in the spray swath, leading to deposition rate of 0.005-1.0 g m-2 on sprayed surfaces (such as tree trunks, thicket) and residue levels of between 0.01-200 ppm within the top 5 cm of soil. The application rates used by the rural communities surveyed in the Rift Valley are not likely to be lower than the overall application rates used in Zimbabwe. Indeed, it is likely that deposition rates will exceed the higher end of this range. Table 1 summarises the most significant risks to the environment and human health estimated from the survey data on pesticide practices, combined with the tsetse control assessment and studies done on human DDT exposure from malaria control use in South Africa. Full details can be read in the full risk assessment report5. The key issues with DDT are its persistence and its tendency to bioconcentrate and bioaccumulate, particularly in fatty tissue, thus chronic exposure is the chief problem. Through this process, DDT can reach toxic quantities within the bodies of animals, such as birds of prey. It is important to note that DDT does not easily get into aquatic systems through run-off, due to its low water solubility and tendency to bind to organic matter. However, if poor spray application technique leads to direct spraying of waterways or if poor management leads to farmers washing their application gear in local streams, lakes or other water bodies, then the risks to aquatic fauna are high and serious. In a similar fashion, DDT is rarely found contaminating groundwater but it will build up in sediment levels, which presents a real risk for rural families dependent on muddy surface waters for their drinking supplies. Due to its persistence in sediment, the risk from DDT to aquatic systems will continue to increase as long as DDT continues to be applied to surrounding fields, particularly if accompanied by poor management leading to direct contamination of waterways, even if actual application rates are relatively low. Furthermore, despite making a tiny contribution, use of DDT in the Ethiopian Rift Valley will increase global levels of this persistent organic pollutant, as volatilisation in the tropics is high.

Training and awareness needs to manage risks possible mitigating factors was developed for DDT, as outlined in Figure 1. This assumes 425 ha within the two districts are treated with DDT, based on the numbers of farmers who reported using DDT and their average farm size. Due to the lack of Ethiopian data on application volumes (since there is no legal use for agricultural purposes and therefore no recommended dose rates), data from assessment of DDT sprayed for tsetse fly control in Zimbabwe was used4. The tsetse control operations sprayed at an overall application rate of 160-250 g ha-1 of active ingredient in a highly targeted manner, with an intended 1

The Rapid Risk Assessment highlighted several urgent issues to be addressed by training and awareness-raising in order to manage and reduce the risks identified: ● dangers from the use of DDT (and other old and obsolete pesticides), and the fact that it is illegal to use DDT for agriculture. Health risks from the use of old and obsolete pesticides, with a clear message not to use DDT under any circumstances. ● assessment of benefits versus risks from pesticide use. Is it necessary to spray? Is it economic to do it with the frequency farmers do? ● alternatives to pesticides for crop protec-

9


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 10

Risk assessment tion and livestock care should be identified and promoted. ● avoiding unnecessary contamination of soil and water and associated health risks ● importance of all farmers avoiding the use of unlabelled pesticides and of reading and heeding instructions on pesticide containers/packaging (where they have them). ● all farmers taking heed of wind direction and other weather conditions which affect the potential negative impacts of other pesticides and ONLY proceeding with application under suitable conditions. ● correct disposal of used and empty pesticide containers, given the reported re-use of empty containers for food and/or water storage in a small number of cases. ● use of protective clothing when handling and applying pesticides, given the significant number of farmers spraying in normal clothes, with bare hands and feet. ● information on proper storage conditions for pesticides, with an emphasis on risks to children. ● importance of reporting health incidents (however minor) resulting after contact with pesticides to local clinics, to Ethiopia’s PIC Designated National Authority (DNA) and (for DDT) the POPs focal point. ● importance of reporting environmental incidents potentially resulting from pesticide use to PIC Designated National Authority, POPs focal point (for DDT use) and other relevant authorities.

References 1. Amera T. and Abate A. (2008) An assessment of pesticide use, practices and hazards in the Ethiopian Rift Valley in 2007, Institute for Sustainable Development, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and PAN UK. This report includes the RRAs for 2,4-D and DDT by Tingle and Grant. 2. US Forest Service Pesticide Risk Assessment for 2,4-D. http://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/pesticide/ risk_assessments/093006_24d.pdf [NB. This document is no longer accessible via this site] 3. USEPA (2010). List of contaminants and their MCLs. National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. Drinking Water Contaminants. USEPA. http://water.epa. gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm#List 4. Douthwaite RJ and Tingle CCD. (eds.) (1994). DDT in the tropics: the impact on wildlife in Zimbabwe of ground-spraying for tsetse fly control. Chatham, UK: Natural Resources Institute. 195 pp. 5. Tingle CCD and Grant IF. (2008). Rapid Risk Assessment of DDT used by rural communities in the Rift Valley, Ethiopia – Ecotoxicity (and human health risks). 7pp. http://www3.webng.com/panukdocs/ poverty/annex%204%20rras.pdf

10

Key Information Sources (partial selection) http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminant s/dw_contamfs/24-d.html http://www.24d.org/ http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles/extoxn

Pesticides News 90

December 2010

Paraquat — a major cause of poisoning in West Africa A new study out of Burkina Faso shows that the Syngenta herbicide Gramoxone (active substance paraquat) causes more poisonings than any other pesticide. Alarmed by these findings Burkina Faso has requested that this paraquat formulation be added to the annex of the Rotterdam Convention. On 12 December, the secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention published a request by the government of Burkina Faso to include the severely hazardous pesticide formulation paraquat (20%) in the annex of the Rotterdam Convention. Such a move would have far-reaching consequences for the export of this Syngenta bestseller to developing countries. Importing countries would have to give their prior informed consent for every shipment of paraquat destined for their shores — and this consent will not be granted easily. Many countries will consider the existing EU-ban in their decision. Burkina Faso bases its request on a study published by the secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention a few weeks ago. The study shows that 54 of 296 pesticide poisonings are caused by the Syngenta herbicide Gramoxone. Gramoxone causes by far the most poisonings of any pesticide in that country. Symptoms reported range

from headache, breathing difficulties and vision troubles to vomiting, destruction of contaminated skin and loss of consciousness. In addition to the request by Burkina Faso under the Rotterdam Convention, nine West African states are taking steps to ban the product. ‘Syngenta have known for years that the use of paraquat, especially in developing countries, causes serious health damage. Nevertheless they keep promoting the product, neglecting their Corporate Social Responsibility. We therefore welcome the decision of the Burkina Faso government to take action now’, says François Meienberg of the Berne Declaration. Read Burkina Faso’s request http://www.pic.int/reports/SHPF_rep.asp at (select Burkina Faso from the country menu) or download the pilot Study on Agricultural Pesticide Poisoning in Burkina Faso at http://www.pic.int/Workshop/ Burkina/Rapport final SHPF_ENGLISH version23sept.doc More information about paraquat is available at www.paraquat.ch, or in PAN Asia and the Pacific’s new monograph on paraquat (see this issue, p23). Berne Declaration Press Release, 13 December, 2010

UK man poisoned by paraquat Thirty six year old Philip Ward, died after getting up in the night and accidentally drinking the weedkiller paraquat from a drinks bottle. Mr Ward was had been drinking alcohol and did not realise the bottle was filled with illegal weedkiller. It had been left by his father, Michael, who had been using it in the garden the day before, an inquest heard. He had been using it in the garden on August 5 this year when the telephone rang. He had put the weedkiller on the worktop but forgot about it.

et/24d-captan/24d-ext.html http://www.cdms.net/LabelsMsds/LMDefa ult.aspx [search for 2,4-D as brand] http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsh eets/24d_fs.htm http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/24d_r ed.pdf Environmental Health Criteria 29 http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc /ehc29.htm Cox, C. (1999) 2,4-D: Ecological Effects. Herbicide Factsheet. Journal of Pesticide Reform, Vol.19, No. 3 2,4-D Pesticide Fact Sheet: Forestry Use. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Program, Oregon State University USA http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/privateforests

The deputy coroner for Derby and South Derbyshire, Louise Pinder, recorded a verdict of accidental death. Paraquat, the active ingredient in many herbicides, is banned in the EU but is available in developing countries and in the US. Paraquat was banned by the government in 2007 and even storing old bottles is illegal. UK man dies after drinking paraquat from drinks bottle, Aidan Radnedge, Metro 10 December, 2010

/docs/24Dfactsheet.pdf?ga=t MOARD, 2007. List of Registered Pesticides as of October 2007. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Crop Protection Department. Dr Colin Tingle is an Environmental Impact Ecologist with over 20 years experience in pesticide ecotoxicology in developing countries. Professor Ian Grant is an Environmental Toxicologist with 30 years experience in developing countries. They can be contacted via the Natural Resources Group [www.thenrgroup.net] or by email Colin - tc09@gn.apc.org; Ian ian.grant@cybister.plus.com


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 11

Pesticide reduction in Europe

Significant pesticide reductions possible in Europe The four-year research programme, Endure, has concluded that up to 70% reductions in pesticide use are possible in some European crops. Integrated Pest Management techniques which are either already in existence or close to commercialisation were highlighted in a series of case studies conducted in France, Belgium and England. Adoption of a combination of these techniques could help to significantly reduce pesticide use in Europe. Keith Tyrell summarises the key findings presented at a recent conference in Paris. Pesticide use in some European crops can be reduced by over 70% according to a four-year EU-funded research programme, but social and economic obstacles still hinder the uptake of integrated pest management (IPM). The Endure programme launched in 2007 brought together more than 300 social and natural science researchers from 18 European institutions to improve the sustainability of crop protection and reduce reliance on synthetic pesticides. The programme was built around four broad themes: ● identifying short-term solutions to optimise and reduce pesticide use based on existing knowledge and resources. This theme produced a range of case studies highlighting approaches that are currently used in crops including wheat, apples, potato, tomato and maize and identifying obstacles to their uptake. ● introducing new and innovative approaches. It focused on changes that may be possible in the longer term and explored technologies such as landcape ecology and molecular biology to ‘revisit the basic design of agricultural systems’ using technologies that are near to commercialisation that could cut reliance on pesticides. ● building a self-sustaining research community. IPM is a multidisciplinary approach and Endure built a network of crop protection practitioners with backgrounds in economics, sociology, soil science, entomology to name just a few, around a common research agenda. ● providing policy advice. The Endure programme coincided with the adoption of new EU legislation on pesticide use which places a greater emphasis on IPM. As a result EU policy-makers paid especially close attention to the outputs of the research and the researchers themselves made an effort to present their findings in a way that was useful to policy-makers. In December, at the close of the programme, the researchers gathered in France to share their findings and review achieve-

ments. A series of case studies were presented that demonstrated that significant potential exists to reduce pesticide use in almost all of the crops studied. In the case of winter cereal cropping systems, for example, the researchers found that within the next ten years, technologies will be available to cut the treatment frequency index (TFI) – a measure of pesticide use that takes account of each active ingredient – by 74% in France and by 56% in England. Based on already available techniques, TFI could be cut by 39% in England. The researchers also found scope to cut TFI in Denmark by 6% now and 37% in the future, which is surprising given the comparatively low use of pesticides in that country. In the English case, the study was led by Rothamstead Research. The team examined cropping patterns and pesticide use in cereals and oil seed rape in England. Continuous autumn sowing in much of England makes weed management challenging and herbicides are heavily used. Mild, wet winters, and the demands of the food supply chain to deal with mycotoxins, also leads to a heavy reliance on fungicides, and large amounts of insecticides are used to deal with a variety of pests including aphids and pollen beetles. The study found that the TFI could be cut by up to 30% simply by lengthening crop rotations and changing the sequence in which they are grown. Introducing spring crops and different crop species, and even leaving the land fallow, could make it easier to control weeds and reduce disease. But these changes come at a cost: in each of the seven rotations developed, annual wheat production would fall while production of other crops, such as spring beans for which there is less demand, would rise. When the researchers looked at how new or near to market technologies such as GPS controlled pesticide applications and new cultivars could change the picture over the next ten years, they found that pesticide use could be cut by 45-57%. What is more,

Pesticides News 90

December 2010

a cut of 30% could be achieved with hardly any impacts on profitability or productivity. The potential reductions are even more dramatic in France. Researchers from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and the Technical Centre for Oilseed Crops (CETIOM) looked at the winter cropping systems in three regions: Poitou-Charentes, Burgundy and the Paris Basin, and examined the impact of new and innovative approaches to crop protection on pesticide use. The crops studies included oil seed rape, winter wheat, sugar beet and barley. The team designed a new cropping system for each region built around nonchemical pest control methods and only using pesticides where these methods fail. This approach allowed them to develop cropping systems that could bring the TFI in Poitou-Charentes down from 5.8 to 2.2. The reduction was even more startling for the Paris Basin where approaches such as crop sequencing, sowing densities and dates allowed them to predict a cut in TFI from 7.1 to 0.4 and completely eliminate the use of fungicides. While the team did not discuss the impact of the approach on productivity or profitability, other research on French wheat-based cropping systems has demonstrated that significant cuts in pesticide use are possible while at the same time improving profitability (see this issue, pp16-17). Meanwhile a third study looking at winter wheat, winter barley and winter oil seed rape in Denmark was conducted by the University of Aarhus. Denmark already has comparatively low pesticide use, but the research found that scope for further reductions still remains. The team found that by using technologies such as optimised/low dose delivery systems, combined with changes to sowing densities, dates and sequencing, pesticide use could be cut by 6%. What is more, they predict that within ten years, techniques such as GPS spraying, and sensing to adjust fungicide doses to crop biomass will allow pesticide use to be reduced by 37%, but they warn that this model could reduce productivity. One of the strongest messages to come out of the three studies – and the whole Endure programme – is that many technologies and approaches already exist that can reduce the need for pesticides, but they are not adopted. The reasons for this are many and complex, but include lack of training, perceived cost, time pressures on farmers and farm workers and simply lack of awareness of the techniques. The Endure team has recognised these obstacles and a key component of the programme involves disseminating information about the available techniques. The programme is working with a network of agronomists to raise awareness of IPM and has produced a manual to provide trainers and colleges with the practical tools needed to implement IPM. More information on the programme and the case studies discussed here can be found at www.endure-network.eu

11


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 12

Illegal trade

Pesticides News 90

Poisonings in South Africa from super strength street pesticides Impoverished urban areas are fertile breeding grounds for urban pests and consequently there is a high demand for cheap and effective pest control. Illegal sales of highly toxic agricultural pesticides to householders has become commonplace in many developing countries where effective control of sales is lacking. This trade is lucrative for the sellers but dangerous both to them and the householders who buy their wares. Hanna-Andrea Rother has investigated these ‘street pesticides’ in South Africa. She reports on her findings. In many countries where people live in poor and crowded urban areas the housing and systems for sanitation and refuse removal are often inadequate. Under these conditions pest infestations can be endemic and highly problematic1. Rats carry diseases, eat and contaminate human food supplies, bite people (often sleeping children) and intensify the discomfort of living in such poor conditions. Cockroaches, flies, fleas and bed bugs invade homes and other premises. They compete for food, bite and carry disease, and also carry the stigma of being unclean. This has created a high demand for effective and cheap pest control, and has resulted in lucrative sales of toxic ‘street pesticides’. Alongside this

has come human poisonings2. Research on street pesticides is limited3. The studies and reports that are available suggest that the sale and use of street pesticides for domestic pest control by the urban poor is a global problem predominantly in, but not limited to, developing countries, such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique, USA, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Israel4-15. The use of illegal street pesticides and the resultant poisonings of humans and the environment is not only a silent problem, but one that is difficult to research. The Health Risk Management Programme in the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research at the University of Cape Town

December 2010

embarked on a research project in 2008 to investigate South African street sellers’ occupational exposures16 and whether children were being poisoned by street pesticides.

What are ‘street pesticides’? Informal vendors in South Africa sell pesticides that have been predominantly registered for agricultural uses, and which have been decanted into unlabelled alcohol and common drink bottles, purporting their effectiveness for controlling pests in poor communities (Table 1). As these pesticides are highly toxic they are only registered for agricultural uses and are inappropriate for domestic home use. Street sellers either purchase the pesticides pre-mixed or as a concentrate which they dilute themselves or sell concentrated. The high toxicity of these pesticides makes them effective at killing pests quickly, particularly large rats. (The street name for aldicarb used for rat control is ‘two steps’ as the rat will only take two steps before it dies after eating the aldicarb). Due to their efficacy demand for these products is high and selling them is lucrative; One street seller, for example, indicated making a 70% profit on the cypermethrin he bought at a local cooperative17. Table 1 presents the findings from the research conducted in Cape Town, South Africa with street sellers. Samples purchased from informal sellers were analyzed at a private laboratory to identify their active ingredients. The laboratory, however, refused to continue analyzing samples after the first results as the high toxicity of the pesticides severely contaminated the equipment which subsequently required extensive cleaning. The laboratory workers also complained of the toxic smell. The results show that at the time of the study the most common street pesticides were methamidophos, cypermethrin, chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl, and aldicarb. Some street pesticides were cocktails of these chemicals. For example, one sample tested contained 124 mg of chlorpyrifosmethyl, 0.3 mg of cypermethrin and 5 mg of chlorpyrifos diluted with water in a 200 ml bottle. The table highlights the acute and chronic toxicity of the street pesticides sampled and gives examples of the quantities of each pesticide sold by some of the interviewed street vendors.

Profile of street pesticide vendors

12

Liquid street pesticides mixed with water and decanted into old alcohol bottles (aldicarb sachets in the foreground) Photo: Tembinkosi Qondela

As street pesticides are illegal and most informal sellers are aware of this, it is difficult and complicated to research their use and to identify the original source of the active ingredients. Two fieldworkers visited taxi ranks, informal markets and travelled on commuter trains where street pesticides were abundantly available. Many people sell street pesticides and it is difficult to assess just how many sellers there


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:21

Page 13

Illegal trade

Pesticides News 90

December 2010

are as each township, train route and taxi rank throughout the peri-urban areas of Cape Town appear to have sellers. Generally, there are three types of sellers – stationary, mobile and temporary18. Men and male youths are more likely to be mobile sellers selling on trains, in streets and door-to-door. They may also distribute street pesticides to stationary sellers. The latter tended to be women in their 40’s and 50’s or older who are unable to find work elsewhere. Children were seen assisting at stalls or running them while their mother was away – even a two year old was left alone to sell street pesticides. Temporary stalls refer to opportunistic selling of street pesticides in areas where potential customers are receiving government grants (such as an unemployment grant or child grant) and have to walk past sellers with their newly received payouts.

The case of aldicarb Aldicarb is registered for use as a systemic insecticide and nematicide on agricultural crops. It is formulated and marketed in a granular form sold under the name Temik and is used illegally in many countries around the globe as a rodenticide. In most countries still using aldicarb for agricultural uses, it is listed as a ‘restricted-use’ pesticide which is not intended for use in homes and is only to be applied by trained and certified pesticide applicators. In South Africa, each box of Temik is bar-coded and registers are kept of each buyer. Aldicarb is listed as one of the most highly acutely toxic pesticides sold and has the highest acute toxicity ranking under the World Health Organisation’s classification, WHO class Ia19. Aldicarb is banned in several countries, including in the European Union where use

The basket of a mobile street seller’s wares including pesticide containing chalks, lollies and and packets of peanuts and raisons. Photo: Tembinkosi Qondela

in all members states was banned in 2007 due to its toxicity and environmental effects. In August 2010, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced agreement with the global pesticide manufacturer Bayer CropScience to end the use of aldicarb in the US on potatoes and citrus27. Bayer will voluntarily stop producing aldicarb by 31 December, 2014 and end sales (in the US) by 31 December, 2016, however all remaining uses will only be terminated by August 2018. The reason for this decision is that a new risk assessment conducted by the EPA based on recent toxicity data indicates that aldicarb no longer meets rigorous US food

safety standards and that it poses unnecessary dietary risks, especially to infants and young children. The concern is that babies and children under five through drinking water and eating food may obtain levels of aldicarb at levels higher than is deemed safe by the EPA. Where does this then leave children who accidently eat aldicarb left out for rats or who have been given aldicarb in an act of homicide? In 2009, aldicarb was recommended for listing on Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent. The Rotterdam Convention is an international convention which regulates trade in toxic chemicals. The final decision on

Table 1: Laboratory and study results for Cape Town street pesticides Active ingredient (AI)

How product is sold

WHO classification - acute effects20

Potential chronic health effects21-26

Example quantities sold by study participants

Methamidophos (organophosphate)

As concentrate in medicinal bottle containing ~30 mg of AI or alcohol bottle containing ~ 4 mg of AI

Highly hazardous; Class Ib (LD50: 30 mg/kg)

Neurotoxic, reprotoxic, developmentally toxic

2-3 bottles per day; 4-5 bottles per day; 8 bottles per week

Cypermethrin (pyrethroid)

Diluted with water in used Moderately hazardous; alcohol, water or juice bottles Class II (~65 mg of AI) (LD50: c250* mg/kg) Diluted with water in used Moderately hazardous; alcohol, water or juice bottles Class II (~5 mg of AI) (LD50: 135 mg/kg) Diluted with water in used Slightly hazardous; alcohol, water or juice bottles Class III (~120 mg of AI) (LD50: >3000 mg/kg) Small straw like sachets Extremely hazardous; containing 50-60 mg Class Ia (LD50: 0.93 mg/kg)

Neurotoxic, reprotoxic, developmentally toxic, carcingenic

4-5 bottles per day; 30 bottles per week

Neurotoxic, dermatotoxic, causes birth defects

4-5 bottles per day; 30 bottles per week

Neurotoxic, dermatotoxic, causes birth defects

4-5 bottles per day; 30 bottles per week

Neurotoxic, reprotoxic, developmentally toxic, carcinogen, dermatotoxic

50 sachets per week

Chlorpyrifos (organophosphate) Chlorpyrifos-methyl (organophosphate) Aldicarb (carbamate)

*c= toxicity data for pyrethroids is highly variable according to isomer ratios; AI = Active Ingredient Source: References 1,2

13


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:22

Page 14

Illegal trade

Pesticides News 90

December 2010

dren suspected of pesticide poisoning, 68% were alleged to be from street pesticides and 71% required hospitalization for between one and ten days. One of the problems with street pesticide poisonings is the inability to accurately identify the poison. For example, several street pesticides are organophosphates whereas aldicarb is a carbamate. It is often difficult to distinguish the symptoms caused by these two different pesticide groups which is important in treating the patient32,33. Furthermore, when a family member or care giver describes the pesticide and what it was used for, many physicians think of pesticides registered for those uses and not of street pesticides. The use of street pesticides is not commonly known by health professionals treating poisoning cases.

Aldicarb sachets sold by street sellers in a South African township. Just one of these 20 strips can kill around six children weighing up to10 kgs. Photo: Hanna-Andrea Rother

whether aldicarb will be listed by the Convention be taken in June 201128. Once a chemical is listed on Annex III, then a decision guidance document is sent to all countries signed up to the convention with a request that they make a decision as to whether they will continue granting permission for the chemical to be imported into their country. The question is whether the ban on aldicarb in the US will result in developing countries being pressured to continue using aldicarb regardless of whether they are a signatory to the Rotterdam Convention or not. That is, being a signatory to the Rotterdam Convention does not prevent countries from being encouraged to increase their use of, or to continue to import high volumes of, aldicarb as the US phases it out.

14

Child poisonings from street pesticides The ready availability of aldicarb and the widespread knowledge of its toxicity has also resulted in its use for self harm and homicide29 (in this study several poverty stricken mothers fed aldicarb to their children while taking it themselves). To find out if street pesticides were leading to human poisonings, case files of poisonings were reviewed at a local children’s referral hospital to look for descriptions that would identify the poison as a street pesticide30. For example, black granules used to kill rats and white liquid used to kill cockroaches are both formulated from aldicarb. Results from the above study indicated that 76% of the children suspected to have been poisoned by street pesticides (that is 46 children) were aged four or under31. Children were found to have drunk the pesticides mistakenly thinking they were water or milk as the pesticide was stored in a common drink bottle, or to have eaten aldicarb mixed with bread or maize meal as bait. These baits are often left in places accessible to children. Three children were accidentally killed when a family member gave them a spoonful of liquid from a medicine bottle assuming it was cough medicine. Of the 60 case files reviewed of chil-

Aldicarb mixed with maize meal in a food dish on the floor of a shack. Photo: Hanna-Andrea Rother

Management of highly hazardous pesticides Pesticides currently being used in South Africa as street pesticides are all legally registered for other uses. The issue is then of access to agricultural pesticides and the lack of control measures to ensure registered use only. In many developing countries controlling use of pesticides is problematic and therefore regulators and policy makers need to take into account the pesticide’s toxicity when registering a product. The Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides supports the prohibition of highly toxic and hazardous pesticides where control measures are insufficient. Clearly in the case of street pesticides, control measures are insufficient. At the second session of the FAO/WHO Joint Meeting on Pesticide Management (JMPM) in 2008 criteria were presented to allow highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) to be identified34. Street pesticides, particularly aldicarb, meet these criteria and require urgent measures to protect human health. One proposed solution is to increase the purchase cost of HHPs in relation to other pesticides. Would making aldicarb more expensive effectively reduce its legal uses and then indirectly its illegal uses as a street pesticide?

Conclusions Conducting raids to confiscate sellers’ illegal pesticides, as well as arresting street sellers have been temporary measures practiced in South Africa (and other countries) to remove these pesticides from the streets. This is, however, not a sustainable solution and is only making the plight of poverty stricken populations worse. Street vendors are trying to make a living and offering them alternative pest control products to sell (such as high sprung rat traps) would be a more viable solution. However, if the root of the problem is not addressed it is likely that the same street pesticides or new ones will continue to be sold. The root of the problem is that poverty related pests


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:22

Page 15

Illegal trade require policy and government commitment to control them in a non-toxic and sustainable manner. Integrated pest control for poor urban communities needs to feature prominently in poverty alleviation strategies both nationally and internationally. A commitment to sound housing, removal of waste, appropriate sanitation is one component of the integrated approach, but there need to be systematic mechanisms for poor community members to access information on non-toxic control measures, empowerment for street sellers to sell alternative products and local government commitment to non-toxic pest control measures. References 1. Tolosana S, Rother H-A, London L. Child’s play: Exposure to household pesticide use among children in rural, urban and informal areas of South Africa. S Afr Med J. 2009; 99: 180-184. 2. Rother H-A. Poverty, pests and pesticides sold on South Africa’s streets: Implications for Women and Health. Women & Environ. 2008; 76/77: 3643. 3. Rother H-A. (2010) Falling through the regulatory cracks – Street selling of pesticides and poisoning among urban youth in South Africa. Int J Occup Environ Health, 16: 202-213. 4. Op cit 2 5. Op cit 3 6. Vates C, Osterhoudt KC. Give Me Three Steps. Pediatric Emergency Care. 2008; 24(6):389-391. 7. Nelson LS, Perrone J, DeRoos F, Stork C. and Hoffman RS. Aldicarb Poisoning by an Illicit Rodenticide Imported into the United States: Tres Pasitos. Clinical Toxicology 2001; 39(5): 447-452. 8. Landrigan PJ, Claudio L, Markowitz SB, Berkowitz GS, Brenner BL, Romero H, Wetmur JG, Matte TD, Gore AC, Godbold JH, Wolff MS. Pesticides and inner-city children: exposures, risks, and prevention. Environmental Health Perspectives. 1999 Jun; 107 Suppl 3:431-7. 9. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Poisonings Associated with Illegal Use of Aldicarb as a Rodenticide – New York City, 19941997. Morb Mortal Wkly Report 1997; 46(41):961-963. 10. Lifshitz M, Shahak E, Bolotin A, Sofer S. Carbamate Poisoning in Early Childhood and in Adults. Clinical Toxicology. 1997; 35(1):25-27. 11. Lima JS, Reis CA. Poisoning due to illegal use of carbamates as a rodenticide in Rio De Janeiro. Clinical Toxicology 1995; 33:687-690. 12. Caldas E, Rebelo F, Heliodoro V, Magalhaes A, Rebelo R. Poisonings with pesticides in the Federal District of Brazil. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2008;46:1058-1063. 13. Allen J. Aldicarb: The Silent Killer, A Discussion of The Challenge facing South Africa Regarding the Illegal Sale of Pesticides. Investigation on Crime 2nd World Congress. Durban, South Africa. 3-7 December, 2001. 14. Byrd TL, Gibbs SG, Saller J, Reyes P, Maldonado PA. Children's exposures to pesticides use in homes and farms. Journal of Health. 2007; 69(7):27-31. 15. Tagwireyi D, Ball D, Nhachi C. Toxicoepidemiology in Zimbabwe: pesticide poisoning admissions to major hospitals. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2006;44(1):59-66. 16. Op cit 3 17. Op cit 3 18. Op cit 3 19. World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO Recommended Classification of Pesticides by Hazard and Guidelines to Classification 2009.

Pesticides News 90

December 2010

Cotton pesticides implicated in fatal poisonings in Benin This summer, several media reports brought news of health problems and deaths in the area around the towns of Parakou and Tchaorou (Northern Benin). The reports suggested the problems were caused by cotton pesticides prompting OBEPAB (L’Organisation Béninoise pour la Promotion de l’Agriculture Biologique) to investigate further. Their investigation had two strands. Firstly, they conducted interviews with representatives of local health centres, security services and regional agricultural extension services. And secondly, they spoke with some of the victims and their families. The investigation revealed that a total of 161 people had been poisoned of which 19 had died. All the poisonings occurred between 1 July and 6 August 2010 and all were in the area around Parakou and Tchaorou. According to the health centres, the victims were from three to 60 years old and their symptoms were consistent: vomiting, convulsive crises, abdominal pains, diarrhoea, headaches, loss of consciousness and coma. Most victims reported symptoms starting after consumption of food containing cereals (maize, sorghum and millet), dried cassava and yam. Doctors think that contamination of the foods with cotton pesticides is the most plausible explanation. Surprisingly, the area near Parakou and

Tchaorou is not a major cotton producing area. So how did cotton pesticides come to contaminate the food? One possibility is that cereal and dried tuber traders were responsible. These agricultural products are highly vulnerable to attack by insects after harvesting. Normal food storage pesticides are ineffective and only rarely used by traders. But the traders can easily buy cotton pesticides from farmers. They subsequently apply these to their stored cereal and dried tuber stocks. OBEPAB has called on authorities to take urgent action to protect the public from such profit-driven behaviour. After the tragedies of this summer, local authorities in Parakou organised ‘sensitisation’ talks on the local radio involving doctors, judges and other key people. ‘Although encouraging, this initiative is unlikely to be enough to stop such behaviour,’ said Davo Vodouhe, Director of OBEPAB. OBEPAB wants clear protocols for storing cereals and dried tubers need to be established and a supply of recommended pesticides made available to discourage traders from buying highly hazardous cotton pesticides which are not registered for use on food crops. Competent government authorities must control the cereals and dried tuber stocks and assign responsibilities to prevent a similar public health disasters occurring in the future.

Geneva: World Health Organization. Available at: http://www.who.int/ipcs/publications/pesticides_ha zard_rev_3.pdf [Accessed November 22, 2010]. 20. Op cit 19 21. Kishi M. The health impacts of pesticides: what do we now know? In: Pretty J ed. The pesticide detox: Towards a more sustainable agriculture. London: Earthscan; 2005. 22. Kamel F, Hoppin JA. Association of pesticide exposure with neurologic dysfunction and disease. Environ Health Perspect. 2004; 112(9): 950-8. 23. Galloway T, Handy R. Immunotoxicity of organophosphorous pesticides. Ecotoxicol. 2003; 12(1-4): 345-63. 24. Colborn T, Dumanoski D, Peterson J. Our stolen future. Toronto: Penguin; 1996. 25. Goldman L. Childhood pesticide poisoning: Information for advocacy and action [Internet]. 2004 [cited 30 Jan 2010]. Switzerland: United Nations Environment Programme. Available from: http://www.who.int/ceh/publications/pestpoisoning. pdf 26. Straff W, Gundert-Remy U. Environmental health risks – What are the differences between children and adults. Berlin: Umweltbundesamt (Federal Environment Agency); 2004. 27. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Aldicarb. http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/ reregistration/aldicarb [Accessed November 22, 2010]. 28. Aldicarb. Rotterdam Convention. http://www.pic.int/home.php?type=t&id=336 [Accessed November 22, 2010]. 29. Op cit 3 30. Rother H-A (2009) Poor urban children are at a

high risk of poisoning by street pesticides - A silent public health concern. Policy Brief Number 1, COEHR Health Risk Management Programme. Cape Town: University of Cape Town. Available from: http://web.uct.ac.za/depts/oehru/dox/ChildPoisoning-Brief.pdf [Accessed: 22 November, 2010] 31. Op cit 23 32. Bloch K, Roberts C, Glasstone M, Curling L, Rother HA, London L, Zar H, and Mann M. (In Press) Pesticide poisonings at a tertiary children’s hospital in South Africa: an increasing problem. Clinical Toxicology 33. Reigart JR and Roberts JR. Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings, ed., 5th edition. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency. 1999. http://www.epa.gov/ pesticides/safety/healthcare/handbook/handbook.ht m [Accessed 6 December 2010] 34. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs). http://www.fao.org/ agriculture/crops/core-themes/theme/pests/pm/ code/hhp/en [Accessed November 22, 2010].

Hanna-Andrea Rother, PhD, Programme Leader - Health Risk Management in the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Anzio Rd. Observatory, 7925 South Africa; Tel +27-21-406 6721; Fax +27-21-406 6163; andrea.rother@uct.ac.za www.coehr.uct.ac.za

15


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:22

Page 16

Pesticide reduction in Europe

French farmers and Integrated Production of wheat Since 1997, agronomists and farmers in northern France have conducted extensive farm trials to develop strategies for growing large-scale arable crops with reduced reliance on agrochemicals. The aim of the trials is to reduce the environmental load on water and soil resources, to better preserve biodiversity, while still growing profitable crops within a mainstream setting. Stephanie Williamson reports. Over 70 trials on commercial farms have been carried out on soft winter wheat grown on a variety of soil types in the Picardy region of France1. The work has been conducted by agronomy experts in AgroTransfert, supported by the local Chambers of Agriculture in the Eure river Department and the Eau Seine Normandie water company. Full comparisons were made with best practice in conventional wheat cultivation practices (termed ‘agriculture raisonnée’ in French). The findings have proven that the risks of crop diseases and wheat lodging can be reduced using a set of integrated, mainly cultural, practices based on: ● choice of crop variety ● reducing sowing density ● delaying date of autumn sowing ● adapting the fertiliser regime The prevention principle is key to Integrated Production (IP) in wheat, with careful attention paid to a farmer’s deci-

sions made well before actual sowing. If methods to reduce the incidence of diseases, weeds and insect pests are not planned in advance and backed up by sound, technical advice, it is very difficult to reduce inputs.

Choosing appropriate crop cultivars Using wheat varieties with a certain level of resistance to the major cereal diseases is critical if farmers are to significantly reduce fungicide applications and avoid any use of plant growth regulators. This means avoiding sowing cultivars previously grown on a particular field, especially if these are susceptible to soil borne fungal diseases (Septoria, helminthosporium leaf blotch and wheat eyespot are the most relevant in this part of France). Recommendations are to sow mixtures of wheat cultivars if possi-

Pesticides News 90

December 2010

ble, to reduce disease pressure and the development of fungicide resistance. The regional agronomy centres will advise farmers on which wheat cultivars to avoid on certain soil types and topographies, drawing on a large database of farm trial results for disease susceptibility.

Reducing sowing density At standard seed densities, the soil and climate characteristics in Picardy tend to favour excessive vegetative growth of wheat, which will force farmers to apply fungicides and growth regulators. Sowing at an average of 30% less seed compared with conventional practice is an important tool to limit diseases in cereal plant stem and foliage. A less dense coverage of the wheat plants allows more air to circulate and reduces the spread of infection between plants, and produces a less damp microclimate in the crop, therefore less favourable to fungal growth. The project agronomists can advise on modifications of seeding rate according to soil type and whether farmers are using conventional or reduced tillage.

Choosing sowing date Under the IP strategy, Picardy farmers are encouraged not to sow wheat at least until the second fortnight in October. Sowing winter wheat a little later in the autumn helps considerably to reduce the risk of a variety of fungal diseases, as the fungi have less time to reproduce and therefore the severity of disease is reduced. Septoria leaf spot is the main fungal disease in Picardy and combining delayed sowing with Septoria-resistant wheat varieties helps farmers keep this disease under control with fewer fungicide applications. Certain weed species are also less problematic in later-sown wheat. Late sowing (20 October) in almost all years has proven to be effective in reducing attacks of autumn aphids, and eliminating the need for any foliar insecticide application in the autumn. For wheat sown in the period 5-20 October, an insecticide application may be needed on specific fields, following pest monitoring, if thresholds are exceeded. For wheat sown early (before 5 October), the incidence of aphids and other sucking bugs will be much higher and insecticide use unavoidable.

Crop rotation and other decisions

16

Field of wheat

Planting wheat in successive seasons greatly increases the risk of high levels of eyespot disease, while maize grown the year before increases the risk of Fusarium leaf blotch. For effective IP wheat, this should be avoided if possible. Careful timing and dosing of fertiliser in the spring is important to avoid too lush a growth, which can lead to disease problems. Reduced nitrogen application also helps to reduce aphid populations, as do whiskered wheat cultivars. There are no


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:22

Page 17

Pesticide reduction in Europe

Pesticides News 90

commercial biocontrol products for aphid control, although sowing an earlier strip of wheat as a ‘trap belt’ can attract aphids and form a reservoir of their natural enemies, such as parasitic wasps.

increasing French and EU-level demands on farmers to reduce the amount of herbicide entering water courses, non-chemical weed control will become more important in the near future.

Challenges in weed control

Economic and agronomic results

Reducing herbicide use has been a major challenge in the IP wheat programme. However, detailed research has built much better knowledge of the population dynamics of key weed species. This knowledge can be combined with a renewed interest in ‘old-fashioned’ cultural methods to manage weeds effectively. IP farmers are recommended to monitor weed types and infestation levels in their different fields, paying special attention to weed emergence in autumn sowing and to evaluate the risk of grassy weed species developing herbicide resistance. Creating a ‘stale’ seed bed is a key cultural method, by harrowing the field lightly before sowing wheat, so that weeds germinate and can be removed by a further harrow pass. One to three shallow passes at 3-5 cm soil depth has been found to work well. The agronomy service provides advice on cultivation techniques and equipment for different soil types and weed problems and for conventional and minimum tillage systems. Further research on mechanical weed control is underway. So far, it has not been possible to eliminate herbicide use but combining mechanical methods with delayed sowing date and careful use of weed density thresholds for decision making can make a difference. IP farmers are strongly urged to avoid preemergence herbicides as these can harm beneficial soil microorganisms which play a vital role in maintaining soil fertility. It is also an issue of moving away from longheld perceptions that fields need to be completely weed-free to be profitable. With

Averaging results over the 77 trials during 1998-2005 showed that the tactic of delaying sowing date allowed IP farmers to gain a gross margin of 42 euros/ha, compared with conventional practices (Table 1). Input costs were reduced by 28% on average, with a 600 kg (6.4%) reduction in yield. In 92% of trials, yields were below or equal to conventional, but in 80% of cases IP practices gained in income terms. IP practices do not affect protein content of the wheat grain and grain weight reduction was very minor and mainly associated with one particular wheat cultivar sown. Reducing fungicide and insecticide applications also enables IP farmers to save an average of 2.2 field passes, saving around 2 hours of work time per 10 ha wheat.

Moving towards a cropping systems approach The Picardy experience shows clearly that agronomists and farmers need to start thinking in different ways, moving away from a dependency on chemical controls and reconsidering the benefits of some older practices such as stale seedbeds. For pest and disease management this means moving from a ‘treating the symptoms’ approach, to one focussed on delaying and weakening their reproductive cycles. The Chamber of Agriculture’s technical brochures encourage farmers to ‘test’ how far they are along the path to Integrated Production, using an evaluation matrix for

Table 1. Economics of IP wheat production Costs in euro/ha

Best conventional Integrated Practice Difference (raisonnée) practice

Seed cost

69

53.2

-23%

Insecticides cost

4.6

1.3

-72%

Herbicides cost

51

48

-7%

Fungicides cost

59

20

-66%

Growth regulators cost

8

0

-98%

Nitrogen cost

91

81

-12%

Total input costs

283

203

-28%

No. field passes

8.4

6.2

-2.2

Yield 100 kg/ha

93.7

87.7

-6

Protein %

11.6

11.5

-0.1%

Specific weight kg/hl

76.6

76

-0.6

Gross margin euro/ha

507

549

+42

Source: Reference 1

December 2010

their different practices. The practices which score the highest points are for preventative measures using resistant cultivars, reducing seed density and delaying sowing date. Other strategies favoured are avoiding wheat or maize before wheat and rationalising yield and fertilisation regimes and selecting less toxic pesticides. Marks are deducted if farmers do not sow test strips on the field to assess nitrogen fertiliser need or do not use threshold values to decide on fungicide and insecticide need. The scoring system makes it clear that even if you carry out all the cultural controls recommended but continue to grow wheat year after year, your farm is not IP! One group of 20 farmers in the Eure valley has been collaborating with agronomists since 2006 to move beyond the IP wheat programme, to a cropping systems approach, which looks to combine elements from IP and organic production and build more diverse cropping rotations2. Manipulating in-field and field boundary habitats to encourage more natural control of pests and diseases is important, including hedges, corridors and reducing field size. Participating farmers benchmark their results, trying out different rotation sequences including oilseed rape, flax, horsebean, peas and barley, with particular attention to the interactions between husbandry practices in the successive crops and more spring sowing. An important objective is also to reduce further pesticide and fertiliser emissions into water courses and to explore ways to reduce energy use in their farm operations. On average the group have reduced the pesticide treatment frequency index to 3.1, compared with the local average of 5.7. The best farmers have been able to reduce this to under 2. They carry out 30% fewer field passes, saving energy on fuel. Group members have moved from the usual three crop rotation to six crops, with almost 30% now spring, rather than winter, sown resulting in much reduced weed and disease incidence3. They only use one fungicide treatment on wheat, one or two on oil seed rape and 1.2 on protein crops and reduce herbicide use to 1.2 l/ha, with more mechanical weeding. These pioneering farmers now serve as important reference farms in a new Technological Network for Innovative Cropping Systems. References 1. Itinéraires techniques intégrés du blé tendre d’hiver en Picardie. Guide Pratique. Mischler et al. (2006) Alternatech Section Agro-Transfert. http://www.agro-transfertrt.org/index.php/fr/component/docman/doc_downlo ad/51-guide-pratique-du-ble-tendre-dhiver-enpicardie-28p 2. Success stories of integrated production in open field. Bertrand Omon, 2009. Presentation to PAN Europe NIC Working Group, Paris, 8 December 2009. 3. Vers des Systèmes de Culture plus durables. L’expérence d’un groupe d’agriculteurs de l’Eure. Eure Chamber of Agriculture.

17


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:22

Page 18

International trade

Pesticides News 90

Pesticide export – from the harbour of Hamburg to the world The International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides provides guidance on the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of pesticides. It recommends that in developing countries hazardous pesticides which require the use of prohibitively expensive or uncomfortable personal protective clothing should not be used. PAN Germany investigated the export of pesticides from the port of Hamburg in Germany. They found that, despite the recommendations of the Code, 77 highly hazardous pesticides were being exported. Susan Haffmans reports. Multiple environmental and health problems are related to pesticides world wide. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that there are 25 million poisonings and 20,000 deaths due to pesticides every year. Nearly all fatal pesticide poisonings accrue under conditions of poverty. Globally, the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides (Code of Conduct) defines standards for dealing with dangerous pesticides, for avoiding risks, and for introducing alternatives. The Code is internationally accepted as the minimum standard for pes-

ticide management. It calls on all stakeholders involved in the pesticide chain, from the pesticide industry, food companies and traders, to farmers and public interest groups, to use the Code and to monitor its implementation. PAN Germany followed this call and focussed on one group within the pesticide chain that has been neglected in the past: exporters of pesticides. Being situated in Hamburg, PAN Germany carried out research to answer the following questions: Are pesticides being exported directly from Hamburg? Which firms are involved in the export of pesti-

December 2010

cides? Which pesticides are exported and to which countries? What are the possible consequences when these pesticides are used under conditions of poverty? The aim of these activities was to gather more information on pesticide export and to make exporters aware of the Code of Conduct and its obligations and to encourage them to withdraw highly hazardous pesticides from their product lists. Especially under conditions of poverty highly hazardous pesticides are a threat to people and the environment. Specifically there is often a lack of protective clothing, the use of ‘empty’ pesticide bottles for the transport of water and foodstuff, the storage of pesticides in bedrooms, often unprotected and within the reach of children. Illiteracy increases pesticide misuse and contamination and leads to poisoning and death. Referring to the lack of protective clothing the Code of Conduct states that ‘Pesticides whose handling and application require the use of personal protective equipment that is uncomfortable, expensive or not readily available should be avoided, especially in the case of small-scale users in tropical climates. Preference should be given to pesticides that require inexpensive personal protective and application equipment and to procedures appropriate to the conditions under which the pesticides are to be handled and used’ (art. 3.5). Beyond that the Code also makes it very clear that traders must take their responsibilities seriously when it comes to environmental and health threats. Article 8.2.5 states ‘that a pesticide may need to be recalled by a manufacturer and distributor when its use, as recommended, represents an unacceptable risk to human and animal health or the environment, and act accordingly’.

Findings

18

Port of Hamburg, Germany

Photo: PAN Germany

PAN Germany found out that highly hazardous pesticides are exported from Hamburg. The Port of Hamburg is the second largest harbour in Europe and 9.74 million containers of chemicals were transported from Hamburg in 2008. Chemicals are amongst the most important goods within the bulk cargo and container trade. Pesticide producers, traders, suppliers, shipping companies and exporters in Hamburg trade internationally both in pesticide products and in the basic chemicals for pesticide manufacture. PAN Germany carried out online research to identify companies in Hamburg involved in the pesticide trade. In cases where web information was lacking, companies were contacted by telephone, email or regular mail to get further information. Eight companies from Hamburg were identified as involved in pesticide export: A. Sander & Co. GmbH (AS), Behn Meyer Holding AG (BM), Dangschat T.O.H. GmbH & Co. KG (DT), Hachemie GmbH (Hugo Häffner Gruppe) (HHG), Helm AG, Jebsen & Jessen (GmbH & Co.) KG (JJ), Spiess-Urania Chemicals GmbH (S-UC)


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:22

Page 19

International trade

Pesticides News 90

December 2010

Table 1. Pesticides traded from Hamburg* Insecticides

company**

Herbicides

company**

Fungicides

company**

Abamectin

HA, JJ

Acetochlor

HA, JJ, WH

Fosetyl-aluminium

HA, JJ

Acephate

JJ, AS, HHG, BM, WH

Atrazine

JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Benomyl

HA, JJ, HHG, WH

α-Cypermethrin

JJ

Bentazone

S-UC

Benthiavalicarb-Isopropyl

Amitraz

JJ, HHG, WH

Butachlor

JJ, WH

Calcium-cyanamide

BM

Benzoic azid

AS, DT

Chloridazon/Pyrazone

Captan

JJ

Borax

AS, DT

Chlorotoluron

Carbendazim

HA, JJ, AS, HHG

Carbaryl

JJ, AS, HHG, WH

2,4-D salts and ester HA, JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Chlorothalonil

HA, JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Carbofuran

JJ, AS, HHG, BM, WH

Dicamba

HA, S-UC

Cymoxanil

HA, JJ, AS, HHG, WH, S-UC

Chlorpyrifos

HA, JJ, BM, WH

Diclofop-methyl

JJ

Dazomet

BM

Clothianidin

S-UC

Diuron

JJ, AS, HHG, BM, WH

Difenoconazole

HA

Cypermethrin

HA, JJ, AS, HHG, BM, WH

Flurochloridone

JJ

Dodine

AS, HHG, S-UC

Cyromazine

HA

Fluroxypyr

HA

Ethoxyquin****

HA

DDVP/Dichlorvos

JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Gibberellic-acid

JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Folpet

S-UC

Deltamethrin

JJ, AS, HHG, BM, WH

Glyphosate

HA, JJ, AS, HHG, BM, WH, S-UC

Hexaconazole

HA, JJ

Diazinon

JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Imazethapyr

JJ

Iprodione

JJ

Diflubenzuron

HA, S-UC

Imazosulfuron

S-UC

Copper II hydroxide

S-UC

Dimethoate

HA, JJ, AS, HHG, BM, WH, S-UC

Isoproturon

JJ, AS, HHG, S-UC

Copper oxychloride

JJ, BM, WH, S-UC

DNOC

JJ, WH

Lenacil

AS, HHG

Mancozeb

HA, JJ, AS, HHG, BM, WH, S-UC

Endosulfan

HA, JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Linuron

AS, HHG, WH

Maneb

JJ, AS, HHG, BM

Acetic acid***

AS, DT

MCPA

JJ

Mepanipyrim

S-UC

Ethion

JJ

Metamitron

JJ

Metalaxyl

BM

Etofenprox

S-UC

Metribuzin

JJ

Procymidone

WH

Fenitrothion

JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Metsulfuron/-methyl

S-UC, BM, JJ

Propiconazole

HA, WH

Fenobucarb/BPMC

JJ, WH

Oxyfluorfen

JJ

Propineb

BM

Fenvalerate

JJ, WH

Paraquat

HA, JJ, HHG, BM

Sulphur

JJ, WH, S-UC

Imidacloprid

HA

Picloram

HA, JJ

Tebuconazole

HA, JJ, WH

Ivermectin

JJ

Propanil

JJ, BM, WH

Thiabendazole

JJ

λ-Cyhalothrin

HA

Propyzamide

S-UC

Thiophanate-methyl

HA, JJ

Lindane/γ-HCH

JJ, AS, WH

Simazine

JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Thiram/TMTD

HA, JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Malathion

JJ, AS, HHG, BM, WH

Tribenuron-methyl

HA

Triadimefon

HA, WH

Metaldehyde (Molluscicide)

JJ, WH, S-UC

Triclopyr

BM

Triadimenol

JJ, WH

Methamidophos

HA, JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Trifluralin

JJ, WH

Tridemorph

HA, BM

Methomyl

HA, JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Validamycin

JJ

Monocrotophos

JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Zineb

JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Parathion

AS, HHG, WH

Ziram

HA, AS, HHG, WH

Parathion-methyl

AS, HHG, WH

Permethrin

JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Profenofos

BM

Trichlorfon

JJ, AS, HHG, WH

Zinc phosphide (Rodenticide)

S-UC

JJ, WH

JJ, AS, HHG, WH

S-UC

* Analysis based on data from 11/08

and O. Priess & Co. (Wiechers & Helm GmbH & Co. KG Business group) (WH). The product lists from these companies were collected (see Table 1) showing that they were trading in more than one hundred active substances. On several company

homepages, comments such as ‘This table provides an outline of our products. Please contact us if you have any other agrochemical requirements’ or ‘We can supply other generic agrochemicals on request’ indicate that further substances can be shipped on

special demand. To meet the demands of the Code of Conduct to substitute hazardous pesticides with less hazardous ones, the pesticides had to be classified. The PAN International List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHP List)

19


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:22

Page 20

EU regulation

Pesticides News 90

Diazinon – the problem of multiple regulatory regimes

will not be permitted for use in the EU after 1 March 2011. It is worth noting that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) phased out all residential uses of diazinon in December 2004 to mitigate the risk to the general population, especially children, as they believed that there was a risk of significant acute toxicity to humans.

As a veterinary medicine

Active ingredients used within Europe in pesticides, biocides or veterinary products have to be approved at EU level. However, they are subject to three different regulatory regimes. While the same active ingredient may be approved under the three different regimes, the requirements may vary. This can lead to inconsistency in approvals and confusion for users. Nick Mole examines the issue using the example of diazinon.

Diazinon is also approved for use at EU level as a veterinary medicinal product in accordance with EU Directive 2001/82/EC. This allows diazinon to be used in domestic cat and dog flea collars as well as for sheep dips. Currently there are three UK approved sheep dips containing diazinon and 30 products for controlling fleas and ticks on cats and dogs, all of which are collars.

Diazinon is an organophosphate (OP) insecticide which acts as a contact stomach and respiratory poison. In common with other OPs, it inhibits acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme essential for normal nerve impulse transmission. The World Health Organisation classifies diazinon as a class II ‘moderately hazardous’ pesticide. It is used in a variety of applications such as in sheep dips and flea collars, on golf courses and on agricultural crops such as broccoli, lettuce and tomatoes.

One chemical, three regimes

As an agricultural pesticide Active substances used in plant protection products are currently approved for use at EU level by inclusion in Annex I to Council Directive 91/414/EEC. EU approval for plant protection products containing diazinon was withdrawn on 6 December 2007 with the last possible legal use to expire on

20

December 2010

was used. According to the HHP List, a pesticide is categorised as highly hazardous if it has high acute toxicity, shows long term toxic effects from chronic exposure and/or is of high environmental concern1. The assessment showed that 77 of the 109 active substances that are on the product lists are highly hazardous pesticides and fulfil at least one of the criteria of the HHP List. Traders who are willing to face up to their responsibility and who want to contribute to better protection of people and their environment should actively implement the Code of Conduct and support the FAO strategy for risk reduction that includes the ‘progressive ban on highly hazardous pesticides’. The study showed that only very few companies involved in the pesticide trade are willing to answer to critical questions. Direct talks were possible only with those companies that do not export highly hazardous pesticides to non-European countries, companies that are not exporting HHP’s and those that are about to give up pesticide trading. However, with one com-

6 December 2008. The approval was withdrawn because; the available data did not demonstrate that operator, worker and bystander exposure levels were acceptable and there was insufficient information on some very toxic impurities. Thus diazinon has not been used as an agricultural pesticide in the EU since December 2008.

As a biocide Diazinon can also be used as a biocide and as such has to be approved for use in the EU by inclusion in Annex I, Ia or Ib to Directive 98/8/EC, the Biocidal Products Directive. On 8 February 2010 the European Commission made the decision to withdraw approval for use of diazinon in biocidal products. This was due to non-submission of the required information dossier rather than due to any identified concern. Thus biocidal products containing diazinon

pany the discussion was very fruitful. The company had started to give up pesticide trading but was still offering pesticide export services on their homepages. After meeting with PAN Germany they took the pesticide product lists from their website and got into contact with their last remaining pesticide customer in Latin-America to discuss how this customer would possibly substitute the permethrin they were importing with a less harmful substance or method. 1. PAN International List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (PAN List of HHP). Hamburg 2009. http://www.pan-germany.org/download/PAN_HHPList_090116.pdf 2. Pestizide aus Hamburg. Handel mit hochgefährlichen Pestiziden durch Hamburger Unternehmen. Ergebnisse einer Recherche und Handlungsempfehlungen für beteiligte Unternehmen. 36 pages. Online version in German www.pan-germany.

Susan Haffmans, PAN Germany, susan.haffmans@pan-germany.org

There are clearly three distinct regulatory regimes in the EU all concerned with the same active ingredient. One of these has identified issues with the toxicity of diazinon and withdrawn its approval for use. The EPA in the US has also withdrawn the use of diazinon in residential settings due to its potential toxic effects on people and the environment, and in paticular children. Yet it is allowed in sheep dip and flea collars in the UK. While it seems appropriate that regulation would afford greater protection to humans than to sheep, dogs or cats, farmers are often highly exposed to sheep dip and pet owners (particularly children) to flea collars. The toxic effects of OP sheep dips on farmers have been well documented over the years1. And the potential harmful effects of diazinon-based cat and dog flea collars are not clear, particularly on children. Given that it will mostly be family pets using the collars the likelihood of children coming into contact with diazinon is very high. The likelihood of them not washing their hands afterwards is also very high. This could result in the child ingesting diazinon through the mouth or absorbing it through the skin and could potentially give rise to acute symptoms. This is difficult to quantify as it is unlikely that a small child would be able to accurately report the symptoms or make any connection with contact with a pet’s flea collar. The US EPA was concerned about the issue of underreporting of diazinon poisoning due to unrecognised dermal absorption. PAN UK would like to see a more joined up approach to the regulation of active substances. When a substance has had its approval withdrawn from one regulatory regime it should automatically be subject to a review for other uses with the onus placed on the manufacturer to demonstrate that it is safe to use in this context. 1. For more information on the effects of OPs on people see www.opin.info


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:22

Page 21

Factsheet

Pesticides News 90

Diazinon Diazinon is an organophosphate pesticide developed by Novartis in the early 1950s. It has recently lost its authorisation for use in the EU as an agricultural pesticide and as a biocide due to issues with toxicity and gaps in the required authorisation data. Diazinon is an organophosphate (OP) insecticide and acaricide (a chemical which kills mites and ticks), which acts as a contact, stomach and respiratory poison. In common with other OPs, diazinon’s toxic action is achieved by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme essential for normal nerve impulse transmission. It has been used throughout the world to control a wide range of sucking and chewing insects and mites on a range of crops, including deciduous fruit trees, citrus fruit, bananas, vegetables, potatoes, beet, sugar cane, coffee, cocoa, tea, tobacco, cotton, and rice. It is also used to control agricultural soil-dwelling insects, and is applied as a sheep dip to control ectoparasites such as sheep scab and blow fly strike1. Diazinon use in homes controls cockroaches, ants, and carpet beetles, and is in insecticidal pet collars2. Trade names for diazinon include Knox-out, Dianon and Basudin3.

Production and use Diazinon was originally developed by JR Geigy (which became Novartis and subsequently Syngenta) in the early 1950s. Manufacturers since have included Aako, Cerexagri, Drexel, Hegang Heyou, Makhteshim-Agan, Nippon Kayaku, and Syngenta4. In most parts of the world, production and usage figures are not publicly available. Between 1987 and 1997, annual usage of diazinon in the US totalled about six million pounds (2.7 million kg). The US states with significant use included California, Texas and Florida5. US production figures for 1999 showed 13.5 million pounds (6.1 million kg) of active ingredient were produced for sale6. The ban on the domestic uses of diazinon in the US resulted in an approximately 80% decrease in the amount used annually7. In California during 1998, 900,596 pounds (408,871 kg) of diazinon active ingredient were used in both agricultural and some urban situations8. In the UK, diazinon has mostly been used either as a sheep dip, or to control ants and cockroaches around the home. Agricultural uses have been phased out since 1999 (see below). OP sheep dip use peaked in 1986 when in total 186 tonnes were sold. By 1998 sales had decreased to about 80 tonnes, largely because compulsory sheep dipping ended in 19929. The use of OP sheep dip was temporarily suspended in the UK in 199910. However, their use has been reinstated and currently there are three sheep dips containing diazinon approved for use in the UK11.

A review of diazinon in 1991 by the UK’s Pesticide Safety Directorate raised concerns about sub-standard production resulting in the hazardous by-products monothiono-tetraethylpyrophosphate and sulfotepp12. Use of diazinon increased in China as the government phased out use of older, more toxic OPs and demand for pesticides increased13.

Acute toxicity The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies diazinon as a class II ‘moderately hazardous’ pesticide. The acute oral LD50 (the dose required to kill half a population of laboratory animals) for rats is 1,250 mg/kg, and for mice it is 80-135 mg/kg14. Diazinon, as with other OPs and carbamates, poisons humans and insects through its effects on an enzyme in the nervous system. Diazinon combines chemically with the acetylcholinesterase enzyme and inactivates it. This enzyme is essential for the control of nerve impulse transmission. Loss of acetylcholinesterase allows the accumulation of acetylcholine, the substance secreted by nerves that activate muscles, glands, and other nerves. Accumulation of sufficient levels of acetylcholine at junctions between nerves and muscles will cause muscle contractions or twitching. Accumulation of acetylcholine at junctions between nerves and glands results in gland secretion, and accumulation between nerves in the brain causes sensory and behavioural disturbances15. The main symptoms of acute diazinon poisoning are headache, nausea, dizziness, pin-point pupils, blurred vision, tightness in the chest, difficulty in breathing, muscle weakness or twitching, difficulty in walking, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea. Effects on the central nervous system may include confusion, anxiety, drowsiness, depression, difficulty in concentrating, slurred speech, poor recall, insomnia, nightmares, and a form of toxic psychosis resulting in bizarre behaviour16. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is concerned that poisoning due to unrecognised dermal absorption, and other routes of exposure can easily be misdiagnosed. This suggests that some individual cases of poisoning might be missed17. The US Poison Control Centre (PCC) analysed its nationwide operations for the years 1985 to 199218. There were a total of 20,565 diazinon cases in the PCC database. Of these, 749 cases were occupational exposure – 519 (69.3%) involved exposure

December 2010

to diazinon alone, and 230 (30.7%) involved exposure to multiple chemicals, including diazinon. There were a total of 10,079 adult non-occupational exposures – 9,060 (89.9%) involved diazinon alone and 1,019 (10.1%) concerned multiple chemicals19. California is one of the few places in the world that actively requires mandatory reporting of all occupational pesticide poisoning incidents from doctors. The California Pesticide Illness Surveillance Program (1982-1995) reported 521 cases where diazinon alone was judged responsible for adverse health effects. Only cases with a definite, probable, or possible relationship were reviewed. Diazinon ranked fifth as a cause of systemic poisoning in California from 1990 to 199420. In the UK there are serious concerns about the effects of OP sheep dips (including diazinon) since they replaced the use of organochlorines in the mid-1980s. Diazinon is still registered for use as a sheep dip in the UK and is in fact the only OP substance permitted for sheep dipping in the UK21.

Chronic toxicity Based on inhibition of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, the daily administered noobserved-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) for humans is 0.025 mg/kg body weight per day, according to the WHO22. Other reports suggest no-effect doses have ranged from 0.02 mg/kg/day in humans to 0.1 mg/kg/day in rats23. In sub-chronic and chronic toxicity studies conducted in mice, rats and dogs, systemic toxicity occurred with decreases in body weight and body weight gains24. There are also potential concerns about breakdown products. In animals diazinon is converted to diazoxon (where the sulphur molecule is substituted for oxygen), a compound that is a strong enzyme inhibitor25.

Cancer Diazinon is not considered carcinogenic by agencies such as the International Agency for the Research on Cancer, or the US EPA26. However, use of diazinon by farmers in Iowa and Minnesota has been linked to increased risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a rare form of cancer27. Similar links were found in the 1980s in Nebraska28.

Neurological effects Since the mid 1980s the health effects from exposure to low levels of OP sheep dip have remained unclear and of great concern. Public interest groups in the UK such as the OP Information Network (OPIN) and the Pesticide Exposure Group of Sufferers (now PEX29) have campaigned for a ban on the use of diazinon because of these issues. Some studies have suggested an association with a wide range of neurological impacts30,31 but the difficulty of establishing cause and effect where there is chronic lowlevel exposure to a range of substances,

21


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:22

Page 22

Factsheet means that the evidence remains inconclusive. Diazinon has played a major role in OP sheep dip use, along with propetamphos and chlorfenvinphos. Most methods of toxicological analyses for OPs have concentrated on measuring the indirect biological effects on humans, by measuring the degree of erythrocyte and plasma cholinesterase activity. However, people can have a wide variation in cholinesterase levels due to genetic factors and disease status, so measuring adverse effects can be difficult without baseline data32. After years of concern, the UK government set up a Committee on Toxicity (COT) Working Group on OPs. Its terms of reference were: ‘To advise on whether prolonged or repeated low-level exposure to OPs, or acute exposure to OPs at a lower dose than causing frank intoxication, can cause chronic ill-health effects.’ The report went on to ‘advise regulatory agencies that any ill-effects remain unproven, although a question remains over whether there may be a small group of individuals particularly susceptible to OPs.’33 Environmental groups pointed out that this ‘small group’ may include about 1,000 sheep dippers34. Further work done at the Institute of Occupational Medicine identified the main risk of adverse effects from OP sheep dips as exposure to the concentrate. In December 1999 the government responded by withdrawing all OP sheep dip concentrate containers from the market until the introduction of containers which would minimise operator exposure to the OP35.

ances for 13 pesticides including diazinon. They are concerned that the use of diazinon in Central and South America is adversely affecting migratory bird populations41. In 2002, a coalition of environmental groups in the US brought a successful lawsuit against the US EPA in the Western District Court for Washington in Seattle. The court found in favour of the environmentalists claim that the EPA’s failure to consult the National Marine and Fisheries Service (NMFS) was a violation of the Endangered Species Act and was putting salmon species at risk. The court order required the EPA to consult on the impact of 55 pesticide active ingredients, one of which was diazinon, on threatened or endangered salmon species42. In November 2008, as a result of subsequent consultations, the US NMFS called for restrictions on the use of diazinon and two other OPs (chlorpyrifos and malathion) to reduce risks to endangered salmon. The NMFS concluded that these three OPs were likely to endanger salmon populations and impact critical habitats. They issued a ‘biological opinion’ (BiOp) to the EPA as part of a legal settlement with environmentalist and fishing groups. The NMFS called on the EPA to impose on these three pesticides restrictions to protect the fish in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington within a year43. The EPA called on registrants to voluntarily adopt the measures which the registrants have so far not done. The EPA is again being sued for their failure to protect salmon species44.

Fate in the environment

Food residues

A US paper reported that diazinon had been found in rivers across the US including the Mississippi and the Rio Grande. Diazinon is one of the most commonly detected insecticides in air, rain and fog36. Analysis by the Environment Agency of Welsh rivers contaminated with OP and synthetic pyrethroid sheep dip revealed that during 1999, 57% of 111 river sites monitored recorded positive results for diazinon37.

Diazinon has been found in a range of fruit and vegetables including pears, soybeans, grain, strawberries, beans and tomatoes. In the US the Consumers Union were concerned that tolerance levels (maximum residue levels, or MRLs) for diazinon were too high, especially for children45. In the UK, residues of the OPs diazinon and propetamphos were regularly found in sheep. Surveillance carried out in 1999 on 643 samples of kidney fat showed 20 contained OP residues, with diazinon detected in the range 21-150 µg/kg46. The EU coordinated pesticide residue sampling programme results for 2008 showed that the highest rates of MRL exceedances in oranges (0.9 – 1.0%) were found for diazinon and dimethoate. In total 13 orange samples found were exceeding the legal limit; one of these samples was produced in Europe (Spain), while the remaining 12 samples originated from outside Europe (Egypt). Given that the EU authorisation for plant protection products containing diazinon was withdrawn on 6 December 2007 and that the last possible date for use was 6 December 2008 it is expected that residues of diazinon in all foods, including oranges, should decrease. However, EFSA recommended the continued monitoring of diazi-

Wildlife

22

Pesticides News 90

The primary wildlife concern with diazinon results from its extremely high acute risk to birds. The acute oral LD50 for mallard ducklings is 3.5 mg/kg, and for young pheasants is 4.3 mg/kg38. In the US it has caused more documented avian deaths than any other pesticide except carbofuran39. The majority of incidents on known sites have occurred on lawns and other turf, particularly on golf courses. In one US incident, diazinon applied at a rate of two pounds active ingredient per acre on turf caused the death of some 85 wigeons (a type of duck) after just 30/40 minutes of feeding40. In September 2009 it was reported that the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) had petitioned the EPA to revoke import toler-

December 2010

non residues in oranges produced within and outside Europe47.

Regulatory action The EU approval for plant protection products containing diazinon was withdrawn on 6 December 2007 with the last legal use following any granting of a period of grace to expire on 6 December 2008. The approval was withdrawn due to a number of concerns: the available data did not demonstrate that operator, worker and bystander exposure levels were acceptable, and there was a lack of information on some very toxic impurities and their presence at levels which might be of toxicological or ecotoxicological concern48. Thus diazinon has not been used as an agricultural pesticide in the EU since December 2008. On 8 February 2010 the European Commission made the decision to withdraw the approval for use of diazinon in biocidal products used as insecticides, acaricides and products used to control other arthropods. The reason was due to non-submission of the required information dossier for diazinon rather than due to any particularly identified human or environmental health concerns. Thus biocidal products containing diazinon will not be permitted for use in the EU after 1 March 201149. Diazinon is also approved for use at EU level as a veterinary medicinal product in accordance with EU Directive 2001/82/EC. This allows diazinon to be used in domestic cat and dog flea collars as well as for sheep dips. Currently there are three UK approved sheep dips containing diazinon and 30 products for controlling fleas and ticks on cats and dogs that contain diazinon, all of which are collars50. In the US diazinon is a restricted use pesticide for use on fruit, vegetables, nuts, ornamentals and cattle ear tags. All nonagricultural uses ended in 2004 under a cancellation agreement with the registrants. The US EPA plans to conduct comprehensive human health and ecological risk assessments for all uses of diazinon and its metabolites of concern. The review is due to end in 201451. The Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has begun a phase out of diazinon in a number of uses, namely foliar, granular and seed treatment applications. It initially set 2012 as the phase out date but has since decided to devise risk management plans and transition arrangements in consultation with stakeholders52. The New Zealand Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) is currently conducting reassessments for a number of active substances including diazinon53. In 2007, following a review of a number of active substances, India banned all agricultural uses of diazinon due to health and environmental concerns. Household uses are still permitted but any product containing diazinon must have ‘banned for use on agriculture’ on the label54.


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:22

Page 23

Factsheet References 1. CDS Tomlin, The Pesticide Manual, British Crop Protection Council, 2003, pp277-278. 2. Diazinon, Environmental Health Criteria 198, International Programme on Chemical Safety, World Health Organisation, Geneva, 1998, p12. 3. Op. cit. 1. 4. Op. cit. 1. 5. Preliminary Human Health Risk Assessment Diazinon, US Environmental Protection Agency, Office on Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, 12 April 2000, p20. 6. Ibid. 7. http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jan/01/nation/napest1 8. Trends in Use in Cholinesterase Inhibiting Pesticides, California Department of Pesticide Regulations, 2000, www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/pur/pur98rep/table05.htm 9. Monitoring of pesticides in the environment, Report of the Pesticides in the Environment Working Group, Environment Agency, Bristol, 2000, p23. 10. Government Announces Four Point Plan on Organophosphates, MAFF press release, 455/99, 20 December 1999. 11. http://www.vmd.gov.uk/ ProductInformationDatabase/Default.aspx 12. Diazinon, Evaluation Document, No. 35, Pesticides Safety Directorate, UK, April 1991 13. Chinese agrochemical demand soars, Agrow, 9 November, 2007. 14. WHO Classification of Pesticides by Hazard 1998-1999, International Programme on Chemical Safety, WHO/IPCS/98.21 15. Review of Diazinon Incident Reports, US EPA, Office on Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, 2 July 2000, p2. 16. Ibid, p3 17. Op. cit. 13, p3 18. Op. cit. 13, p18 19. Op. cit. 13, p22-23 20. Op. cit. 13, p28 21. http://www.arcresources.org.uk/projects/ rusource_briefings/rus10/1022.pdf 22. Op. cit. 2 23. Diazinon, Extoxnet, US, April 1992. 24. Op. cit. 5 25. Op. cit. 22 26. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts86.htm 27. KB Cantor, et. al., Pesticides and other risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma among men in Iowa and Minnesota, Cancer Research, 1992, 52, pp2447-2455. 28. SH Zahm, et. al., A case-control study on nonHodgkin’s lymphoma and agricultural factors in Eastern Nebraska, American Journal of Epidemiology, 1988, 128, p901. 29. http://www.pan-uk.org/health/pex 30. Mackenzie Ross SJ, Brewin CR, Curran HV, Furlong CE, Abraham-Smith KM, Harrison V. Neuropsychological and psychiatric functioning in sheep farmers exposed to low levels of organophosphate pesticides. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2010 Jul-Aug;32(4):452-9. 31. Stephens R, Spurgeon A, Calvert IA, Beach J, Levy LS, Berry H, Harrington JM. Neuropsychological effects of long-term exposure to organophosphates in sheep dip. Lancet. 1995 May 6;345(8958):1135-9. 32. KJM Niven, et. al., Occupational hygiene assessment of exposure to insecticides and the effectiveness of protective clothing during sheep dipping operations, Institute of Occupational Medicine, February 1994. 33. Committee on Toxicity Working Group on OPs, 1998 34. OP Sheep Dips and Human Health, seminar proceedings, National Farmers Union, UK, 2/6/95. p11

Pesticides News 90

December 2010

PAN Europe competition to find ‘Bee-friendly Farmer of the Year’ - British entrants needed! PAN UK is organising the British heats of a new annual ‘European Integrated Production Farmer/Grower of the Year’ competition run by PAN Europe. The competition aims to recognise and reward those farmers and growers making an extra effort to produce food crops in a sustainable manner and to inspire other farmers to undertake more ecologicallybased practices. The theme for the 2011 award is ‘Bee-friendly Practices’, in collaboration with the European Beekeeping Coordination. This topic has been chosen to tie in with the 2010 UN International Year of Biodiversity and high profile concerns about loss of bees and other pollinators in many European countries. The competition is open to any non-organic farmer in the UK. There will be two categories in which prizes will be awarded, arable and horticulture. Farmers can nominate themselves or be nominated by others. A questionnaire, available on the PAN UK website, will need to be completed. Completed questionnaires will be reviewed by our panel of experts who will compile a shortlist of entrants. Heats will be held in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and UK. The UK winners will then be put forward as candidates for winning the overall European Integrated Farmer / Grower of the Year award which will be presented at an event in Brussels in spring 2011. UK awards will be presented at the PAN UK Rachel Carson Memorial lecture on 2011. The deadline for entries to the British heats is 31st December 2010. Updates on the competition and full details on how to submit an entry can be found on the PAN UK website, www.pan-uk.org 35. Government announces four point plan on OPs, MAFF press release, 20 December 1999 36. Preliminary Environmental Risk Assessment for Diazinon, US Environmental Protection Agency, 5 May 1999, p10 37. Sheep Dip in Wales - 2000, Environment Agency, UK, 9 May 2000 38. Op. Cit. 1 39. Preliminary Environmental Risk Assessment for Diazinon, US Environmental Protection Agency, 5 May 1999, p10 40. Ibid 41. US Import Tolerances Linked with Bird Risks, Agrow, 4 September 2009 42. EPA ordered to uphold ESA (Endangered Species Act) mandate, Agrow, 12 July 2002. 43. US pesticide cuts for at-risk fish, Agrow, 21 November 2008 44. US EPA sued again over endangered fish, Agrow, 3 December, 2010. 45. Adam Goldberg, Edward Groth and Charles Benbrook, letter to US EPA from Consumers Union, 17 July 2000. 46. Annual Report on Surveillance for Veterinary Residues in 1999, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, UK, 2000, p92 47. 2008 Annual Report on Pesticide Residues, European Food Safety Authority 48. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUri Serv.do?uri=OJ:L:2007:148:0009:0010:EN:PDF 49. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUri Serv.do?uri=OJ:L:2010:036:0034:0035:EN:PDF 50. http://www.vmd.gov.uk/ ProductInformationDatabase/Default.aspx 51. More US registration reviews opened, Agrow, 9 July 2008 52. Canada confirms diazinon phase out, Agrow, 23 November 2009 53. New Zealand set review priorities, Agrow, 31 March 2010 54. India restricts use of two pesticides, Agrow, 21 December 2007

New paraquat monograph Paraquat is the most highly acutely toxic herbicide to be marketed over the last 60 years. Yet it is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, and in most countries where it is registered it can be used without restriction. It is used on more than 100 crops in about 100 countries. Thousands of deaths have occurred from ingestion (often suicide) or dermal exposure (mainly occupational) to paraquat. It represents a severe public health problem in many countries despite the fact that paraquat is considered safe by its manufacturers. Paraquat has been banned, or use disallowed, in 32 countries mainly for health reasons. But there has been strong industry resistance to including paraquat in the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent and it remains outside the PIC list. Many international organisations, such as Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, Forest Stewardship Council, and food giants like Dole have voluntarily banned it from their production systems. PAN Asia and the Pacific have produced a new 44 page monograph on paraquat providing a comprehensive and tiemly update. It can be downloaded from their website at http://www.panap.net/ en/p/post/pesticides-info-database/518

23


PN90b&w:Pesticides News Template.qxd

16/12/2010

16:22

Page 24

Pesticide Action Network UK PAN UK – Making a difference Pesticide Action Network UK works to eliminate the dangers of toxic pesticides, our exposure to them, and their presence in the environment where we live and work. Nationally and globally we promote safer alternatives, the production of healthy food and sustainable farming. Pesticide Action Network UK is an independent, non-profit organisation. We work around the world with like-minded groups and individuals concerned with health, environment and development to: Eliminate the hazards of pesticides Reduce dependence on pesticides and prevent unnecessary expansion of use ● Increase the sustainable and ecological alternatives to chemical pest control ● ●

Please send me the Pesticide Action Network UK Annual Review 2008. Please send a full publications list. You can subscribe to Pesticides News, donate to PAN UK and buy our publications at www.pan-uk.org

Pesticides News 90

December 2010

Recent publications Organic cotton systems reduce poverty and food insecurity for African farm families, 2010, available at www.pan-uk.org/ foodAfrica /index.html African partner leaflets 2010, about PAN’s partners in Africa, OBEPAB, Enda Pronat and the Yakaar Niani Wulli Organic Farmers Federation. available at www.pan-uk.org/ foodAfrica /index.html My Sustainable T-shirt, 2010, an updated version of PAN UK’s definitive guide to organic cotton and ecolabelling, available at www.wearorganic.org Hibiscus, cashew and cotton - what’s the

common thread? 2009, describes crops grown by African organic cotton farmers and how to support farmers’ livelihoods, available at www.pan-uk.org/ foodAfrica/index.html Moral Fibre, 2009, a guide to sustainable fashion for fashion students, available at www.WearOrganic.org List of Lists, 2009 our popular briefing collating hazard lists for pesticides, available at www.pan-uk.org/ Publications/publist/ listoflists2009.pdf PEX Information Sheets, for those affected by pesticide exposure, available at www.pan-uk.org/Projects/ Exposure/

Periodicals Pesticides News – the most comprehensive quarterly source of information on pesticide problems and alternative developments. Extensive articles, resources, book reviews and news on UK, European and global issues. Current Research Monitor – an invaluable resource for researchers. This lists up-todate scientific and specialist research covering the impact of pesticides on health and the environment. Includes abstracts, research lists and conference details. PEX Newsletter – quarterly information and news sheet for people whose health has been affected by pesticides or who are concerned about the health effects of pesticides.

Subscription details £160 – Full corporate subscribers (commercial organisations and government departments) can receive up to four copies of Pesticides News and Current Research Monitor. Other benefits include all new PAN UK publications and books free of charge. £90 – Basic corporate subscribers receive one copy of Pesticides News and Current Research Monitor. £50 – Non-commercial subscribers (non-governmental/nonprofit/academic organisations) are entitled to Pesticides News, Current Research Monitor, and the PEX Newsletter. £25 – Individual subscribers are entitled to Pesticides News, Current Research Monitor, and the PEX Newsletter. Signed

Date

Name Organisation

Country

Email

24

£ £ £ £ £ £ £

Cheque enclosed ❑ Debit/credit card ❑

Address Postcode

Full Corporate (£160) ❑ Pesticides News ❑ Current Research Monitor (No. of copies: 1 ❑ 2 ❑ 3 ❑ 4 ❑) Basic Corporate (£90) ❑ Pesticides News ❑ Current Research Monitor Non-Commercial (£50) Pesticides News ❑ CRM ❑ PEX ❑ Individual (£25) Pesticides News ❑ CRM ❑ PEX ❑ Publications (tick relevant boxes above) Donation ❑ I wish to receive email updates (free) TOTAL

Subscriptions to PAN UK Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT, UK Tel 020 7065 0905, Fax 020 7065 0907 International Tel +44 20 70650905 +44 20 7065 0907 Email admin@pan-uk.org, www.pan-uk.org

Expiry Security code

Issue No (Switch only) (this is the three digit number on the back of you card)

You can also subscribe by paying direct into our bank account: Pesticide Action Network UK A/c no. 6501 0734 00, The Cooperative Bank, City Branch, (No. 08-02-28) 80 Cornhill, London EC3V 3NJ, UK.

PAN UK - Pesticide News - Issue 90  

December 2010

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you