pesticides on fast track
Approval for reduced risk conventional pesticides is being fast-tracked in the US under tough new laws introduced by US president Bill Clinton.
The Food Quality Protection Act, signed by Mr Clinton in August last year, ensures that registration of reduced risk pesticides remains a priority.
In February this year, the EPA registered two such new products and approved a new use of an existing product – the first to be granted under the new law.
Support exists among industry for a similar scheme in the UK. But no such scheme has been set-up.
A reduced risk pesticide initiative was first launched by the US EPA in 1993 and the basic requirements that must be met for a product to be considered reduced risk were also set at that time.
Mr Clinton also announced in 1993 that reducing the use and risk of pesticides was to be given a high priority. And as part of that initiative his administration set a goal that 75% of all US cropland should adopt integrated pest management by the year 2000.
The new food protection act ensures the initiative is continued. The EPA has pledged under the Act to encourage the development of safer, effective crop protection tools for US farmers.
That means it will encourage wider adoption of IPM strategies which use a mix of pesticide control methods including prevention, monitoring, biological control and mechanical trapping.
The agency has also pledged to replace older high risk pesticides with safer pesticides and figures show that the fast track approval for reduced risk pesticides process is working.
In 1995 it took 38 months to register a new conventional pesticide. But registration for the new reduced risk pesticides took just 14 months.
Since 1993, 29 new chemical submissions have been received by the EPA as reduced risk pesticide candidates. Of the 29, 17 met the criteria for fast-track review and nine of those 17 have been registered.n