Bayer CropScience has suspended sales of its tolylfluanid-containing Elvaron Multi and Talat after studies have revealed a decomposition product can be found in untreated water which, when exposed to ozone during water treatment, could form potentially carcinogenic nitrosamine.
The products control Botrytis and mildews on top and soft fruit. The Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) has issued a regulatory notice suspending their sale and use until further notice, following action by the German regulatory authorities to suspend the approval of a product containing tolylfluanid until 31 December.
A PSD representative said: “A breakdown product of tolylfluanid was identified in ground and surface water, which may be converted into a nitrosamine when water is treated with ozone. Ozone treatment may be used as part of the clean-up of raw surface water before it is used for drinking water. Nitrosamines are harmful to health and should not be present in drinking-water supplies.”
The PSD is gathering information on UK patterns of tolylfluanid use and the likelihood of a similar situation in Germany happening in the UK. It added: “The suspension will remain in place until the scientific issues have been resolved and a final decision on the approvals can be taken.” The sale and use of tolylfluanid products is now prohibited but it remains legal to store the products pending a final decision on the relevant approvals.
Consultant John Adlam said: “I felt it had enormous potential because it has such a broad spectrum of use on Botrytis and downy and powdery mildew. I call it the Cinderella effect for horticulture. Agriculture is a big user but horticulture gets the rough end, while in reality it probably caused no problems. But if that is the situation [the PSD is] justified in what it’s doing as a precautionary measure.”
Soft fruit grower Anthony Snell said growers would not be using the products this early in the season. He added: “They’re important products in our armoury. Elvaron Multi is a particularly important botryticide. The industry has reacted quickly but hopefully we can use it again shortly when investigations are completed.”
He said alternatives such as Teldor could still be used.
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