15 October 1999

Help in assessing pesticides impact

A NEW scheme to help users of pesticides assess their effect on the environment more easily has been launched.

Under the pilot initiative, by AgrEvo, Dow Agrosciences and Zeneca, 15 products* have been given environmental information sheets.

Intended to supplement product labels, the free sheets relay more about potential risks to wildlife, bees, non-target insects, aquatic life, soil and groundwater and field margins. They should be particularly useful for growers making LERAP and buffer zone decisions, the companies believe.

The information, presented in a standard agreed format, is derived from active ingredient and product data used in the registration process.

Product labels have only limited value in highlighting environmental behaviour, says AgrEvos Dave Arnold. The new maximum two-sided sheets go further, explaining relative risks in the different categories in everyday language. "The terms used are descriptive. There is no technical jargon."

The move stems largely from a request by the Pesticide Forum that such data should be a priority in 1999, says the firms food industry manager, Patrick Mitton.

"There is an increasing demand by advisers, farmers, the food chain and non-government organisations for more environmental information about pesticides." The hope is that other companies will follow suit, he says.

Initial targets are LEAF farmers, distributors and independent advisers, assurance scheme writers, food industry technicians and other groups for feedback by Jan 2000, says Zenecas Martin Gibbard. But individual growers can obtain the sheets by calling 01428-655847 by Nov 30.

*EIS are available for: Benazalox, Cheetah Super, Dow Shield, Dursban 4, Eagle, Fusilade 250EW, Galtak 50SC, Gramoxone 100, Hallmark, Merlin, PDQ, Pearl Micro, Reglone, Treflan, & Touchdown. &#42