HL Deb 06 December 1995 vol 567 cc82-3WA
The Countess of Mar

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have ever inquired into the extent to which farmers, veterinary surgeons and their staff, horticultural and forestry workers may be exposed to organophosphates such as dichlorvos fly strips and sprays and diazinon cat and dog flea collars in addition to the organophosphates they might use in the course of their work.

Lord Lucas:

Organophosphorus exposure from products such as fly strips and sprays and flea collars, when used in accordance with the label directions, is very low. Dog and cat flea collars are specially formulated to give a very slow, local release on to the surface of the animal.

The independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides reviewed earlier this year the use of dichlorvos in public hygiene and amateur insecticides. The committee concluded that:

"Field trial data in domestic situations indicate that the use of dichlorvos-containing strips at the recommended rates should not affect human health when used for periods of up to six months. No field data are available to assess the longer term use of strips in situations where people are continuously exposed. On the basis of estimated exposures, using worst case assumptions, label amendments have been recommended to warn the user that strips should not be used in rooms/areas where people could be exposed continuously. No actual exposure information is available following use of dichlorvos-containing hand held aerosol products. Exposures have been estimated, again using worst case assumptions, and compared with air concentrations of dichlorvos measured in human volunteer studies. These comparisons have shown that space sprays or surface sprays applied in bands should not affect the health of users or others occupying the treated areas when the products are used in accordance with the label instructions. It has been recommended that the directions for use of all surface sprays be limited to band spraying around the perimeters of rooms and the edges of soft furnishings."

I have arranged for a copy of the Committee's findings to be placed in the Library.

Workplace exposure to organophosphorus compounds should also be low if the activity is carried out in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions and the proper controls have been adopted following the risk assessment required under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994 (COSHH). Exposure to organophosphorus compounds in domestic pest control products would not constitute any appreciable additional risk.