Detailed record of discussion
Chairman: Professor J G Ayres
Members: Ms A Baker Dr J Cocker Prof G Hawksworth Ms R Howell Dr A Leake Prof P Matthiessen Dr M McPherson
Prof C Ockleford Dr D Osborn Dr W Parker Dr A Povey Dr H Rees Dr S Waring
Assessors: Ms G Asbury (FSA) Dr C Griffiths (SASA) Mr D Bench (CRD) Mr M Williams (WAG ),
Advisers: Mr J Battershill (HPA) Dr S Jess (AFBINI/DARDNI) Dr A Burn (NE) Mr B Maycock (FSA) Mr R Davis (CRD) Dr K Wilson (CRD)
Secretariat: Ms J Wilder (CRD) Secretary, Mrs R Brown (CRD) Minutes secretary, Miss A MacGregor (CRD) Secretariat, Miss S Lickiss (CRD) Secretariat.
Other attendees: Mr E Heywood (CRD) Dr K Jones (CRD) Mrs S Mason (CRD) Mr I McManus (CRD) Mr C Pidgeon (CRD) Miss K Trott (CRD)
1.1 Apologies were received from: Prof C Brown, Dr C Harris, Dr D Ray, Prof J Parry, Ms G Smith (HSE), Mr J Stopes-Roe(DH), Dr C Moore (EA), Dr R Turner (HSE ), Mr P Fisher (CRD)
2.1 The Chairman reminded Members of the confidentiality of the papers and their discussions. If Members believed that they had a commercial or financial interest in any of the items being discussed, they should declare their interest as soon as the meeting moved on to that agenda item. They would then not take part in the discussion, nor would they be involved in any decision taking, unless invited to do so by the Chairman.
3. Agenda item 1:
3.1 a) 336th Meeting: Minutes [ACP 1 (337/2009)]
3.1.1 Agreed as drafted
3.2 b) 336th Meeting: Detailed record of discussion [ACP 2(337/2009)]
3.2.1 Agreed as drafted subject to minor amendment.
4. Agenda item 2: Secretary’s report [ACP 3 (337/2009)]
4.1 The Secretary to the Committee reported that Ministers had accepted advice given at the previous meetings.
5. Agenda item 3: Matters arising [ACP 5 (337/2009)]
5.1 Members noted progress on other matters arising.
6. Bixafen [ACP 6 (337/2009)]
6.1 Members considered a paper presenting further information on vitamin K in the laboratory diet and examining the possible effect on the premature mortalities and associated haemorrhagic syndrome observed in males in the long term studies.
6.2 The committee recognised that coagulopathy was in part related to vitamin K deficiency. Sufficient data were now available to allow appropriate exposure limits to be determined and, as such, the earlier proposal for an additional 9 month study would no longer be necessary.
6.3 FSA queried whether people on warfarin therapy would be adequately protected by the proposed reference doses. Members considered this carefully and concluded that the additional factor of exposure to bixafen at levels around the reference dose would be unlikely to contribute as much variability in response to this type of treatment as the well documented genetic polymorphisms. Warfarin treatment is very carefully monitored and dietary vitamin K intakes were known to be usually well in excess of human requirements. Members agreed that the margins on effect levels were adequate to provide protection for this vulnerable group and agreed that the reference doses proposed originally in March were acceptable.
6.4 Members noted that the applicant planned to submit the additional environmental data requested later this year.
7 Applications for the use of ‘Forefront’ and ‘Runway’ (now known as ‘Mileway’) water in oil emulsion formulations containing 30 g/l aminopyralid and 100 g/l fluroxypyr, as agricultural herbicide and horticultural/industrial herbicide on grassland and amenity grassland. [ACP 7 (337/2009)]
7.1 Members noted that approvals for use of products containing aminopyralid were currently suspended in the UK as a result of a number of reports of damage to crops arising from manure contaminated with aminopyralid residues. Although numbers affected were relatively small, it was clearly distressing for those affected to have lost their crops. There was however no risk to consumers from aminopyralid residues in any crops that did grow in manure containing these residues. Members recalled that they had been aware of the possibility of farmyard manure containing residues of aminopyralid and had required label warnings for these products in line with those applied to other products containing herbicides with similar properties.
7.2 It seemed that problems had arisen with aminopyralid products because some users had failed to comply with the advice given on the label. The applicant had reviewed all of this information and had applied for re-instatement of the approvals, subject to an extensive stewardship programme designed to control supply of both products and treated manure. All of those involved in the supply chain would be required to undertake specific training, and manure from treated farms would be required to be contained on the same farm and not sold on.
7.3 Members noted that this issue had highlighted a route by which residues reach the environment that had not previously been specifically evaluated. Spreading of farmyard manure onto land originally treated with aminopyralid could in theory result in a slightly higher application rate on the same area of land. The paper had therefore considered the possible slightly increased risk to groundwater based on worst case assumptions. Written comments confirmed that revised estimates of contamination of groundwater taking this additional application into account still resulted in predicted environmental concentrations in groundwater falling below 0.1µg/l.
7.4 Members noted that written comments asked whether farms would be capable of complying with the requirement that farmyard manure be kept on the originating farm. Members commented that in practice it was the equine industry where there was most trade in both potentially treated fodder and potentially contaminated manure. The stewardship programme was aimed at restricting use to cattle and sheep holdings where it was already common practice to dispose of manure on the farm. Only relatively little traded manure originated from such holdings. Members considered the possibility that restricting disposal of farmyard manure to the originating holding where aminopyralid had been used might cause some farmers difficulty in complying with nitrate limits. As such it could be that certain smaller holdings might need to be able to have the flexibility to move treated manure to other grassland areas, or alternatively have sufficient flexibility to allow for extended composting periods to enable degradation to take place.
7.5 Members sought clarification as to how persistent aminopyralid was. The original evaluation had concluded that DT50 in soil was about 55 days, although it was significantly more persistent in sediment water systems with a DT50 of 1000+ days. Whilst this suggested that the current advice to incorporate treated manure in soil was appropriate, it also indicated that if aminopyralid reached groundwater it was likely to be quite persistent. Members therefore asked for an evaluation to determine whether highly sensitive crops such as tomato would be at risk if irrigated by contaminated groundwater.
Action: Secretariat to circulate a risk assessment to relevant members
7.6 Members heard that this evaluation had also raised the more generic issue of the possibility of livestock grazing on treated pasture and then being moved to land where management was designed to improve the biodiversity. There was at least a theoretical risk to sensitive plants in such areas from herbicide residues remaining in the excreta. Conservation agencies had discussed this possibility with the applicant and had agreed advice to introduce a ‘withholding’ period for livestock before moving them onto sensitive pasture. Whilst this was helpful in terms of reducing the possible risk from aminopyralid, there was concern that this might be difficult for farmers to manage in practice. With an ambition that about 70% of the farmed area should get involved in some aspect of environmental stewardship, conservation agencies and members were keen to ensure that restrictions on potentially useful products did not inadvertently act as a deterrent to farmers taking up environmental stewardship initiatives. There was a lot unknown about this theoretical risk including the range of sensitivity of important species to herbicide residues and information on the ‘zone of movement’ of herbicide residues from the deposition site of the excreta. Members noted that these were generic issues affecting other similar herbicides, and suggested that further discussion with the applicant was needed to clarify the areas of concern leading to appropriate monitoring and investigation designed to generate data to enable a more relevant risk assessment.
Action: CRD to discuss further with the applicant
7.7 Members next noted the increased movement to green waste composting and sought clarification as to whether this was another possible route of exposure, perhaps arising from amenity grass treatment. It was clarified that the stewardship programme was designed to provide appropriate training to prevent this occurring and some additional reassurance could perhaps be gained from the lack of reported problems arising via this route from the similar compound clopyralid which had been approved for use in this sector and in the home garden for many years. Products containing clopyralid are labelled with specific advice on the disposal of grass clippings from treated areas.
7.8 FSA sought further information on use of aminopyralid elsewhere in the EU, as they were aware of the possibilities of internet purchase etc. CRD confirmed that products were approved elsewhere in the EU, but that they would need to obtain further information from the applicant about what, if any, controls were applied to prevent similar problems occurring.
Action: CRD to clarify EU approvals and controls for aminopyralid
7.9 Members noted the importance of monitoring the stewardship programme to check whether it had resolved the problems. Some auditing was proposed and CRD had requested annual reports. Members agreed that the programme was very comprehensive and suggested that it be reviewed after a year or so.
7.10 Members concluded that the applicant had acted responsibly in proposing a very extensive stewardship programme aimed at allowing a useful product onto the market whilst managing the risk appropriately. Having explored these wider issues of risk : benefit, they were minded to advise Ministers to lift the current suspensions, subject to confirmation that there would not be a risk to sensitive crops from irrigation water extracted from groundwater; that appropriate monitoring and investigation at some sites to obtain data on risk to sensitive species in grassland of conservation interest and to clarification of the position elsewhere in the EU.
7.11 Finally members noted that this issue had raised a lot of public interest. It was therefore very important to communicate this information widely. They noted that information provision to the public was an important component of the stewardship programme with publicity already appearing in gardening magazines. Members agreed that this discussion should feature as one of the case studies in the ACP annual report for 2009. CRD confirmed that Ministers were interested in the issue and some work had already been taken forward on communication issues. A postcard had been produced for distribution in garden centres, and CRD was seeking to inspire relevant press articles.
Post meeting note: The issue had also been discussed at the amateur use action plan working group where a large number of relevant bodies were represented, and these bodies would also be in a position to assist with the provision of information.
8. Bystander Update [ACP 19 (337/2009)]
8.1 Members heard a short report on recent discussions at the Committee of Toxicity (CoT) on Bystander and Resident Exposure to Pesticides. The CoT had requested some additional information to assist their consideration and members agreed that they too would welcome the chance to consider the information when available.
9. Exosex SPTab [ACP 12 (337/2009)]
9.1 Members considered the use of ‘Exosex SPTab’ as a pheromone-based insect mating disruptor for biocidal use in food storage areas. Members had previously agreed that the OECD guidance for assessing the risks posed by such lepidopteran pheromones was appropriate for plant protection products containing these substances. By analogy with the plant protection uses members considered that biocidal uses were unlikely to pose significant additional risks. The Committee agreed to ‘grandfather-in’ this substance for its biocidal uses under Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR), pending further EU review under the Biocidal Products Directive.
10. Agenda Item 8: Pesticide Usage Surveys Consultation [ACP 17 (337/2009)]
10.1 Dr Osborn declared a non-personal non specific interest and Dr Griffiths and Dr Jess, (advisors) declared personal specific interests as they managed the units producing pesticide usage statistics for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
10.2 Members considered the draft reply to this consultation exercise. The Committee discussed and noted the importance of the survey data, and identified frequency of surveys that they felt would be most useful. The ACP asked that further comments were incorporated in the draft, and the revised document would be circulated and agreed by email.
11 Report from the Environment Panel
11.1 Members heard a report of issues discussed at the 104th Meeting of the Environmental Panel held on 23rd April 2009.
12 Report from the Medical & Toxicology Panel
12.1 The Chair of the Medical and Toxicology Panel gave a report of issues discussed at the Meeting of the MedTox Panel held on 11th May 2009.
13 Date of Next Meeting
13.1 ACP 338 on Tuesday 30th June 2009, commencing 11.00am, at Foss House, York,
14 Any Other Business
14.1 Members considered a request to attend the next meeting, and agreed that in line with their usual policy, they would welcome a written submission.
14.2 Members were informed of future discussions and workshops in relation to the NERC programme on ‘Living with Environmental Change’ on food security, including the global need to reduce loss in store and field. Members were invited to be involved in these discussions and were asked to provide nominations to the Secretariat.
15 Dates of next meetings and the ACP Open Meeting
15.1 The Committee discussed proposed dates for ACP Meetings to be held during 2010. The Secretariat will publish these in due course.
15.2 Members also suggested food security might be a possible subject for discussion at the next ACP Open Meeting, to be held on 9th November 2009, and recommended potential key speakers.
16 items for information
16.1.1 Members noted the interesting paper on bees that had been considered previously at the environmental panel. One member asked for further clarification of the incident that had occurred in Germany and clarification that such a combination of factors would not result in similar problems in the UK. Members confirmed that the German incident had been investigated in detail and major problems had been identified in the way in which the seed treatment product had been used to control corn root worm. Similar circumstances were not likely to occur in the UK, not least because the pest is not so significant in UK conditions and was largely controlled by crop rotation here.
16.1.2 Members noted that there was a possibility of exposure of non-target organisms including bees via residues in guttation droplets, and further research was underway to explore this possibility.
16.1.3 The risk to bees was assessed via a tiered approach, depending on the properties of the plant protection product.
16.1.4 Members also heard that at present no-one really knows the cause of the decline in pollinating insects. There is some evidence that insect groups are changing their range, but as yet it is too early to try and attribute causes to those changes. Possible causes are likely to include habitat change, agri-environment schemes and pesticides. The government has recently announced a very significant collaborative research programme to investigate some of these issues further.
16.2 Members noted an update reporting progress on home garden pesticide labelling to reduce risk to children. In addition members heard that CRD was continuing to examine possible approaches to risk assessments for pets in the home garden.
16.3 The Secretary thanked members for their very prompt responses to the application for emergency use of a lepidopteran pheromone for control of light brown apple moth on fruit crops. As a result it had been possible to grant approval for emergency use.
16.4 Members noted the other items for information without discussion.
J G Ayres