The Advisory Committee on Pesticides provides independent advice to Ministers on matters relating to the regulation and use of pesticides, including applications for approval of new products and reviews of existing approvals. It usually meets in closed session (because of intellectual property and commercial secrecy considerations) approximately six times a year in York.
Chairman: Prof D Coggon
Members: Dr J Cherrie, Mr J Clarke, Dr R Clutterbuck, Prof G Edwards-Jones, Dr I Grieve, Dr C V Howard, Ms R Howells, Prof L Maltby, Prof G Matthews, Ms D McCrea, Dr P McElhatton, Prof R Smith, Mr C Stopes, Dr V Tohani, Dr R Waring.
Apologies: Dr D N Bateman, Prof D Macdonald, Dr D Osborn, Rothamsted Research Centre (RRes), English Nature (EN), Environment Agency (EA)
Written comments received from: Dr C Elcombe
Representatives from the following Departments and other organisations were present: The Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD), Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Food Standards Agency (FSA), Department of Health (DoH), Scottish Agricultural Science Agency (SASA) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
At its meeting on 16 September 2004, the Committee discussed the following issues:
1. Agenda Item 1: Minutes and Detailed Record of Discussion
1.1 a) 308th Meeting: Minutes [ACP 1 (309/2004)]
1.1.1 Agreed as amended. (link to minutes of 308th meeting id 1338)
1.2 b) 308th Meeting: Detailed record of discussion [ACP 2 (309/2004)]
1.2.1 Agreed as amended.
2. Agenda Item 2: Secretary’s Report. [ACP 3 (309/2004)]
2.1 The Secretary to the Committee reported on the recommendations made at the meeting held on 15 July 2004
3. Agenda Item 3: Matters Arising
3.1 a) Alternatives to conventional pest control techniques in the UK [ACP 7 (309/2004)]
3.1.2 At the July meeting Members had made several suggestions to amend this paper. The Subgroup had met to discuss revisions to the draft recommendations and these were now presented to the Committee.
3.1.3 Members considered each recommendation closely and a final version was agreed. PSD were asked to produce a revised document, incorporating all the agreed amendments and updates, that would then have a last check by the Chairmen of the Committee and Subgroup before being published on the website.
3.2 b) Comments from independent epidemiologists on the “Ontario review” [ACP 8 (309/2004)]
3.2.1 The Chairman reminded members that following discussions at the May meeting five independent epidemiologists had been asked for their views on the Ontario College of Family Physicians report on pesticides. This advice had now been summarised, and Members were asked whether, in the light of these, it would now be appropriate to issue a statement about the report in view of the media interest that it had generated.
3.2.2 One member had requested comments from four other specialists but reported to the Committee that none had yet been received.
3.2.3 Some members felt that the review had raised concerns amongst the public, and that therefore there was a pressing need for a Committee view. They noted that it had been four months since they had first considered the document. Other members felt that any statement should be delayed until the further comments had been received and the authors had been given the opportunity to respond to the criticisms raised.
A majority of members agreed that it was important for a statement to be made as soon as possible. If appropriate, this could later be modified to take account of any other input that was received.
3.2.4 The Chairman proposed to draft a statement for agreement by the Committee, which would then be made available on the website. He also undertook to contact one of the authors of the report, inviting them to respond to the statement if they wished.
3.3 c) Dates of ACP meetings 2005 [ACP 11 (309/2004)
3.3.1 The Committee were asked to confirm their agreement to the dates proposed for next year’s meetings.
3.3.2 The proposed dates (13 January, 17 March, 26 May, 7 July, 22 September, 17 November) were accepted.
3.4 d) Other matters arising [ACP 9 (308/2004)]
3.4.1 The Secretary presented a summary of actions taken on other matters arising.
4. Draft "regulatory update" on PSD and ACP approach to assessing the mammalian toxicity of two or more compounds in a pesticide product (formulation) that might interact [ACP 12 (309/2004)]
4.1 This update described the approach used to evaluate the risks from exposures to two or more compounds in a formulation that might result in cumulative toxicity.
4.2 Members felt that it was a good paper that addressed an important issue, and as such represented a useful step forward. Some revisions were proposed and discussed.
4.3 PSD were asked to incorporate the suggestions made by Members and to prepare a revised paper for further consideration at the following month’s meeting of the Medical and Toxicology Panel.
5. Second evaluation for UK provisional approval (COPR) of the product 'Scenic' as an agricultural fungicide for seed treatment [ACP 10 (309/2004)]
5.1 Approval was requested for ‘Scenic’, a flowable concentrate for seed treatment, containing fluoxastrobin, prothioconazole and tebuconazole. A combined risk assessment for operators covering the three active substances in the formulation formed part of the application. A risk assessment previously considered by the ACP had been updated in the light of further data on the new active substance prothioconazole which had been considered at the July meeting.
5.2 Members had some concerns about the methods adopted for the combined risk assessment and an alternative approach was suggested. It was agreed that the generic principles of the proposed alternative approach should be considered by the Medical and Toxicology Panel, after which the risk assessment for Scenic should be brought back to the ACP with revision.
6. Sulphuric Acid: Further Consideration of Approval [ACP 13 (309/2004)]
6.1 The Occupational Exposure Standard (OES) for sulphuric acid is under review by the EU Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL). The Committee considered whether this had implications for the commodity chemical approval for use of sulphuric acid as a pesticide.
6.2 Members’ concerns over operator safety were allayed by the information provided by HSE, and the Committee acknowledged that the recent removal of the OES for sulphuric acid, while appearing contradictory, had in fact been planned to improve operator safety. A revised OES was currently under consideration at the EU.
6.3 Members concluded that there was no need to adjust the Commodity approval.
7. Guidance on the statutory duties on relevant authorities to have regard to the purposes of National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and the Broads [ACP 14 (309/2004)]
7.1 ACP comments had been sought as a part of a consultation being undertaken on this guidance document.
7.2 Members discussed some of the issues involved and the Chairman agreed to send a response to Defra.
8. Date of Next Meetings
8.1 The next meetings of the Committee were stated to be the Fifth Open Meeting on 17 November 2004 and the ordinary meeting on 18 November 2004.
9. Any Other Business
9.1 A Defra consultation document ‘Environmental Information Regulations’ had been tabled for Member’s attention. The document highlighted a need to clarify the boundaries between Members’ ACP duties and responsibilities and their other areas of work. Concern was expressed over the possibility that time-consuming or frivolous requests for information from individual members, who give their time unpaid, could become a problem; it was suggested that there should be consideration of payment to cover costs. A response outlining these concerns would be submitted to Defra.
9.2 Members were reminded that copying all relevant correspondence to the ACP Secretariat would mean that PSD would become responsible for filing and information retrieval.
Professor David Coggon