Regulatory Update 32/2009
Issued: 6 October 2009
This Update summarises the outcome of considerations of aminopyralid following the suspension of use due to incidents of damage to allotment crops. Previous information can be found in Regulatory Updates 15/2008, 18/2008, 23/2008 and 30/2008.
Following reports of damage to crops on allotments in spring and summer 2008, investigations implicated residues of the grassland herbicide aminopyralid in resulting manure. At the request of the approval holder, Dow AgroSciences, approvals for marketing and use of aminopyralid-containing products were modified to exclude marketing and use while investigations into the circumstances of the phytotoxicity continued.
Findings reported in Regulatory Update 18/2008 have confirmed that using manure that may contain residues of aminopyralid does not have implications for human health.
Following suspension of the use of the products, Dow AgroSciences initiated a major awareness campaign, reminding all those involved in distributing and using the product to follow the label instructions and only to use manure on-farm and on certain crops. At the same time, through published articles, advertisements and contact with trade associations and allotment societies, attempts were made to alert all those who use manure to the issues and how to minimise the chances of any problems. A website was established which included a simple bioassay for gardeners to help determine if manure had any herbicide residues. If manure was suspected to contain herbicide residues and the owner agreed, Dow AgroSciences arranged for its removal.
These actions have had a positive impact. Despite awareness of these issues being far higher this year, the number of reported incidents where aminopyralid is implicated has fallen.
The Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP), at its May and July meetings, considered a range of further information on the reported incidents and the properties of aminopyralid. Major changes to the way the herbicide is to be sold and used were proposed. The ACP advised Ministers that these changes reduced the risks involved and approval could be recommended.
The minutes of the ACP meetings have been published. The information considered by the ACP is in the process of being drawn together and will be published on the CRD website in due course. Ministers have accepted this advice and new approvals have been issued.
The Major Differences between the Modified and New Approvals
Two products containing aminopyralid are approved. One is for use only on grassland to be grazed, not where silage or hay is to be harvested, to control a range of common weeds. The key changes from the previous approval are as follows:
Use only on grassland for grazing will mean that the majority of manure will fall back onto the treated grassland. Small accumulations, for example with dairy herds in milking parlours, are to remain on-farm and be spread only on grassland.
- There will not be use on grassland for producing fodder, much of which is fed to cattle housed through the winter months that results in major accumulations of manure.
- The product is to be used only by those with cattle or sheep, not those with horses. A high proportion of incidents arose from horse manure where fodder was brought in and there was no or limited scope to spread the resulting manure on the premises.
- These changes are designed to prevent sale of manure from treated grassland being supplied to gardeners and allotment holders, eliminating the risks involved.
Prior to sale of the product, potential purchasers are required to receive training from qualified advisors (British Agrochemicals Standards Inspection Scheme certified) so that the risks and how to prevent these are fully understood. Checks will also be made on the proposed use and ability to meet the warnings and restrictions. Only when all these checks have been satisfied will the product be sold.
The second product is for use against invasive and pernicious weeds in amenity situations (e.g. ragwort and Japanese knotweed on roadside verges, railway embankments or industrial areas) which are rarely grazed and where there is no fodder or manure collection.
If you have any questions regarding this issue or wish to report a case of suspected herbicide damage to your crops, please use the contact details on the label or please contact us: Link to Contact details page.
If residues of aminopyralid are suspected, please contact Dow AgroSciences in the first instance: Dow AgroSciences Limited, Latchmore Court, Brand Street, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 1NH, Telephone: 01462 426694, email : dowagrosciencesUK@dow.com
The Chemicals Regulation Directorate will review details of all reported incidents every three months for the first year and every six months thereafter. If there is evidence that the situation is not improving as expected, a further consideration of the situation will take place.