Isoproturon to be phased out

One of the most widely used herbicides, isoproturon, is to be phased out from September 2007.

The compound, used to control weeds in cereal crops, was subject to review under the 1991 EU plant protection products Directive. A resulting risk assessment found aquatic organisms were threatened by the compound entering field drains and watercourses.

In January, the Advisory Committee on Pesticides concluded the risks could not be mitigated and therefore the compound could not be registered in the UK.

The Pesticides Safety Directorate set a 30 September 2007 deadline for manufacturers to stop selling isoproturon products. From 30 June 2009 their use and storage will be banned.

Isoproturon is one of the top nine pesticides most frequently found in surface waters at above the 0.1 micrograms per litre limit for drinking water (ENDS Report 373, p 15 ). It is also classed as a priority substance under the water framework Directive, which sets tough environmental quality targets for 2015 (ENDS Report 379, p 48 )