Company director jailed for sale of banned weedkiller

A director of a Midlands company has been jailed for 10 months for the online sale of a weedkiller that contained a banned substance.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was alerted that Nuneaton-based Abel (UK) was selling a plant protection product containing sodium chlorate by a complainant in August 2014.

Sodium chlorate is not approved for use in weedkillers because a safe level of use has not been established.

It has been banned since 2010 following concerns that the chemical did not discriminate between plants and weeds.

See also: Eight steps to ensure your pesticide is not fake

Warwick Crown Court heard that the business was also selling paint stripper containing dichloromethane (DCM), which is restricted under Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation.

Abel’s director, Nicholas Corbett, of Weddington Road, Nuneaton, pleaded guilty to breaching The Plant Protection Products Regulations 2011 and the REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008.

Enforcement notices

HSE worked with online platforms to have the advertisements for these products taken down and served enforcement notices to prohibit further supply.

However, the enforcement notices were ignored by Abel.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sarah Dutton said: “Chemicals are carefully regulated to protect human health and the environment.

“Sodium chlorate is not approved for use in weedkillers, as a safe level of use was not established for operators.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will take robust action against those who unnecessarily put the lives of workers and the public at risk, and against those who endanger the environment, through the inappropriate supply and use of chemicals.”