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France says no to metam-sodium

| January 30, 2019

Plant protection products containing metam-sodium are used in market gardening and horticulture to disinfect the soil. Following the substance’s approval at European level, ANSES (the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety) reassessed the dossiers and notified the companies concerned of its intention to withdraw all marketing authorisations for metam-sodium products.

ANSES also took the opportunity to reiterate the importance of phytopharmacovigilance and the requirement for professionals to report any adverse effects on humans or the environment involving a plant protection product.

Metam-sodium is an active substance found in plant protection products used to control pests such as soil fungi or nematodes (soil-dwelling worms, some of which attack crops). These products are used to disinfect the soil before a crop is planted, mainly on market gardening crops such as lamb’s lettuce and tomatoes, and in horticulture.

Although these products are applied to small areas in open fields or greenhouses, they need to be used in large quantities to be effective. They are therefore applied at a rate of between 300 and 1,200 litres per hectare, which represents nearly 700 tonnes used in France each year.

Following the active substance’s approval at European level, ANSES reviewed all the marketing authorisations for products containing metam-sodium in France. It assessed the risks to human health and the environment associated with each use of the products, considering their conditions of use. After reassessment, ANSES concluded that all these uses represented a risk to human health and the environment. The Agency has therefore notified the companies concerned of its intention to withdraw the marketing authorisations for all metam-sodium products.

Moreover, recent poisoning events involving residents and professionals have demonstrated the importance of reporting to ANSES any adverse events related to the use of plant protection products. ANSES reminds professionals that the reporting of adverse effects is a regulatory requirement, pursuant to Article L. 253-8-1 of the French Rural and Maritime Fishing Code. These phytopharmacovigilance reports enable the Agency to act promptly to prevent and control risks.

Source: ANSES – Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail.

Published in International Pest Control – January/February 2019 issue

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