Thursday, February 09, 2006

I am not a scientist, but...

Have a browse through EU directives on pesticides and you will discover that "Téméphos", which is currently being sprayed willy nilly across the land, is on the list of not very nice chemicals and, in theory at any rate has long since ceased to be available.

Is this a case of needs must or...

Tebutam (aka butam)
Tebuthiuron [1]
Temephos [1]
Tetrachlorvinphos [1]

Actives not supported or obsolete
All other pesticides listed have not been supported by the manufacturers under the EU review of Directive 91/414. All those that do not have an ‘essential use’ derogation will be withdrawn on: 24 July 2003 – last day for sale by any person; 31 December 2003 – last day for use; 31 March 2004 – last day for storage (for disposal purposes only).


and if you were wondering just what that little (1) might mean...

[1] = Hazard flag and thought to be still registered for use in some countries
These pesticides are hazardous according to government and institutional sources as noted in the PAN North American database ( or are World Health Organisation Class I pesticides (which are either considered Ia Extremely Hazardous or Ib Highly Hazardous):

  • Known or probable carcinogens, as designated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), U.S. EPA, U.S. National Toxicology Program, and the state of California’s Proposition 65 list.
  • Reproductive or developmental toxicants, as designated by the state of California’s Proposition 65 list.
  • Neurotoxic cholinesterase inhibitors, as designated by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the Materials Safety Data Sheet for the particular chemical, or PAN staff evaluation of chemical structure (for organophosphorus compounds).
  • Known groundwater contaminants, as designated by the state of California (for actively registered pesticides) or from historic groundwater monitoring records (for banned pesticides).
  • Pesticides with high acute toxicity, as designated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. EPA, or the U.S. National Toxicology Programme.

Now, I wonder what Mons. Chirac uses in his garden?

Supposing that you are wondering if "fenitrothion" is also on the list. Well, no it is not there to be removed and most countries seem to like it; except that is the Canadians -

Severely restricted. Use discontinued in all parts of Canada except New Brunswick. Adverse effects on the aquatic environment, migratory songbirds and bees.

Hey, wait a mo', isn't this an island and what is that about "aquatic life"?

The substance is very toxic to aquatic organisms. This substance may be hazardous to the environment; special attention should be given to crustacea and honey bees. In the food chain important to humans, bioaccumulation takes place, specifically in fish. source

Never mind we have only been vapourising it in public places...


Fortunately, there are some brave and intelligent souls such as those in the commune of Le Port who have not given the State carte blanche and have refused the above pesticides on the grounds of their toxicity. (see The "Quotidien" 08/02/2006 page 13).

It reminds one of those heady days when nuclear proliferation was a great game for statesmen whose sole preoccupation was to save face even if it cost the Earth. One must wonder who stands to lose face here?

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