Pesticides: Health Hazards

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16th September 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green

To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of (1) the impact of aminopyralid contamination in compost on gardeners and market gardeners, and (2) the adequacy of the Health and Safety Executive's Chemicals Regulation Directorate enforcement of restrictions on the use of herbicide products containing aminopyralid.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

There are measures in place to keep aminopyralid out of compost and manures. This is necessary because, as a herbicide, aminopyralid can harm broadleaved plants, leading to stunting and distortion (it is important to note that similar effects can result from nutritional deficiencies or diseases). The use of aminopyralid products is subject to strict conditions of use to ensure that plant material which may contain aminopyralid is not used in compost. These conditions have been in place for over ten years and, as a result, the number of reported incidents has declined to a very low level.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors and enforcement officers consider all reported cases of suspected aminopyralid contamination of compost. Decisions on possible compliance and enforcement action are taken on a case-by-case basis. In most cases it is not possible to establish whether or not residues of aminopyralid have damaged plants nor, if so, the source of the residues. HSE maintains close contact with the authorisation holder and continues to keep under review the effectiveness of measures put in place.

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