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FAO alerts on three pesticides and industrial chemicals

Monday, April 4th 2011 - 04:19 UTC
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Gramoxone Super containing paraquat dichloride is used to control weeds in cotton, rice and maize Gramoxone Super containing paraquat dichloride is used to control weeds in cotton, rice and maize

United Nations chemical experts have recommended that two pesticides - endosulfan and azinphos methyl - and one severely hazardous pesticide formulation - Gramoxone Super - be included in the Rotterdam Convention's Prior Informed Consent procedure.

Three industrial chemicals - perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), its salts and precursors; pentaBDE commercial mixtures; and octaBDE commercial mixtures - were also recommended for inclusion.

The Convention's Chemical Review Committee based its recommendation on a review of national regulatory actions taken by Benin, Canada, European Union, Japan, New Zealand, and Norway to ban or restrict the use of chemicals that pose an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment.

“For the first time since the Convention entered into force in 2004, the Committee has recommended adding a severely hazardous pesticide formulation to the 'watch list', advancing our Parties' efforts to ensure that countries' rights to know and trade chemicals safely are respected,” said FAO's Peter Kenmore, Co-Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention.

Gramoxone Super is an herbicide containing paraquat dichloride, which is used to control weeds in cotton, rice and maize. Burkina Faso had proposed to include Gramoxone Super as a severely hazardous pesticide formulation (SHPF) into Annex III of the Convention due to the problems experienced caused by this pesticide formulation under conditions of use in its territory.

PentaBDE and octaBDE commercial mixtures are brominated flame retardants. Due to their toxicity and persistence, their industrial production is set to be eliminated under the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

“The recommendation to include these three industrial chemicals marks an acceleration in the rate of submission of industrial chemicals to the CRC for review of these substances known to harm human health and the environment. This is, as a result, in part, through the cooperative exchange of information from our sister scientific review committee under the Stockholm Convention,” said Donald Cooper, Co-Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention.

The recommendations will be forwarded to the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention in June 2011.


Tags: FAO, pesticides.

Top Comments

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  • GeoffWard

    The picture accompanying this article purports to show Gramoxone crop spraying (Paraquat dichloride).

    “Paraquat is used as a quaternary ammonium herbicide, one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. It is quick-acting, non-selective, and *kills green plant tissue on contact.*
    It is redistributed within the plant, but does not harm mature bark.
    Being a herbicide, paraquat protects crops by controlling a wide range of annual and certain perennial weeds that reduce crop yield and quality by competing with the crop for water, nutrients, and light.”

    Anybody doing this on his coffee crop (picture) is clear-killing all plant life to make ready for replanting. The caption doesn't match the picture as this is clearly a mature and productive plantation.

    PentaBDE and octaBDE (polybrominated biphenyls) are good flame retardants, though the tetrabrominated product is less hazardous. PBBs have a history of accidentally getting into the foodchain ref: Mitchigan Firemaster contamination of animal feedstuffs.

    But Burkina Faso is hitting at the wrong target.
    The key to using toxins is workforce EDUCATION,
    especially in the handling (particularly correctly diluting) and application.

    The materials themselves are spectacularly good at doing their job.

    Apr 04th, 2011 - 11:51 pm 0
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