PCPB orders withdrawal and de-registration of products containing active ingredients considered harmful

[Jennipher Wachie]

The Pest Control Products Board (PCPB) has ordered withdrawal of the use and immediate termination of registration of Chlorothalonil, Diuron, Thiacloprid, Pymetrozine, Propineb, Chlorpyrifos and several other active ingredients and their associated end-use in crop production.

In a letter to all local agents and registrants, copied to the Principal Secretaries in the Ministry of Agriculture, Director General, Agriculture and Food Authority, Managing Director, KEPHIS, Chief Executive Officer, Agrochemicals Association of Kenya and Coffee Cooperatives Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, PCPB, Esther Kimani notified a decision to review the registration status of the active ingredients citing safety trade concerns and their negative effects to crops, human health and livestock.

Active ingredient Pymetrozine has been classified as carcinogen category (suspected human carcinogen) and reproductive toxicant category (suspected of damaging fertility or an unborn child).

The Board made a decision to withdraw the use of pymetrozine based products on all crops, with immediate termination of any ongoing registration of pymetrizine-based products. There will be a phased withdrawal expected to be done by December 31, 2024.

Active ingredient Thiacloprid presents risks for fertility and prenatal development, may damage fertility and an unborn child. Besides, it also has risks as a carcinogenic (suspected of causing cancer) and highly toxic to bees.

The Board ordered immediate termination of any ongoing registration and a phased withdrawal December 31, 2014.

Diuron has been noted to have specific target organ toxicity (may cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure). It was also noted to be a suspected carcinogen due to increased incidence of bladder, kidney,uterine and mammary tumors in mice.

According to the European Union, diuron is classified as a substance suspected of having carcinogenic potential for humans. Similarly, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has classified it as a likely human carcinogen.

To this effect, PCPB directed the withdraw of the use of diuron-based products on all crops with a phased withdrawal for agricultural use by December, 31 2024 and immediate termination of any ongoing registration of any Diuron based products for agricultural use in Kenya.

Similarly, active ingredient chlorothalonil has been classified as carcinogen category with high long-term risks to aquatic organisms. It will similarly go through a phased withdrawal from the market by December 31, 2024, with immediate termination of ongoing registration of chlorothalonil based products.

Use of Propineb based products in warm and humid climates accelerates the degradation of propineb residues which are toxic. Propineb has potential endocrine-disrupting properties related to the adverse effects on the thyroid, it also suspected of damaging an unborn child. The Board directed a withdrawal of use of propineb and its associated end use products on all edible crops.

"All Propineb based products labels to be reviewed immediately to include the statement "Not for use in edible crops" and immediately submitted to PCPB for approval," said Kimani, as well as directing immediate termination of any ongoing registration for propineb - based products on edible crops.

On exceedance of Chlorpyrifos and Chlorpyrifos Methyl (Chlorpyrifos Maximum Residue Limits) on coffee beans and other horticultural produce in the export market, the Board noted that in the recent past, Kenya has received various communications on notifications from Japan due to exceedances of maximum residue limits (MRLs) for chlorpyrifos on Kenyan Coffee.

"The European Union (EU), which is the largest and critical market for Kenyan coffee beans and other horticultural produce, reviewed the MRL for Chlorpyrifos and Chlorpyrifos- methyl for coffee to limit of detection (0.01mg/Kg). Taking cognizance of the importance of Japan and the EU market for the Kenyan Coffee beans," said Kimani.

The Board directed a phased withdrawal use of Chlorpyrifos and Chlorpyrifos methyl based for all agricultural uses by December 31, 2024 and immediate cancellation of all ongoing registration and importation of all agricultural uses of Chlorpyrifos and Chlorpyrifos methyl based products.

"Restrict the use of Chlorpyrifos and Chlorpyrifos methyl based products to building and construction use only. All Chlorpyrifos and Chlorpyrifos methyl based products labels to be Reviewed Immediately to include the statement "Not for use in edible crops" and immediately submitted to PCPB for approval," Kimani said.

Similar action was taken for 2, 4 - Dimethylamine salt (2,4 - Dichlorophenyl acetic acid), which affects the coffee bean.

PCBB has warned that excessive use and misuse of pesticides was causing loss of biodiversity, destroying beneficial insect population and reducing food safety.

The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly three million people are poisoned and 200,000 die every year. In Kenya, about 350,000 cases of pesticide poisoning are reported annually.


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