HC Deb 27 April 1998 vol 311 cc30-1W
Mr. Tyler

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if all the proposals relating to the use of organophosphate pesticides, announced by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 17 February 1997 have been implemented. [39651]

Mr. Rooker

Following a review of the Certificate of Competence Scheme for the purchase of organophosphorus (OP) sheep dips in February 1997, the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) concluded that the marketing of OP sheep dips should continue. A revised guidance leaflet, AS 29Sheep dipping, produced jointly with the Health and Safety Executive and the environment agencies, emphasises the importance of the Certificate of Competence Scheme for the users of dips. The leaflet has been sent to known sheep farmers.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has agreed to ensure that veterinarians are aware that clients hold the necessary certificate and will amend the Guide to Professional Conduct when next reprinting it.

There is no change in the legal classification of sheep dips, which continue to be available from pharmacists and registered merchants.

The VPC is currently reviewing the labelling of sheep dips with a view to simplifying labels where possible.

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions has circulated proposals for new Groundwater Regulations which would require the environment agencies to be notified of sheep dipping activities and would apply new controls on disposal of spent dip.

Research is underway to look at the nature and mechanisms of the toxicity of OPs. The Health and Safety Executive is conducting work on the measurement of urinary metabolites and on new forms of protective clothing. We are awaiting a report from a working party of the Royal College of Physicians of London and the Royal Colleges of Psychiatrists which will include advice on how clinical studies might be undertaken.

A review by the VPC of non-OP sheep dips has been completed and the results were published with the Government's response on 29 January 1998. Legislation, which comes into effect on 6 May, will apply the certification Scheme to the purchase of all sheep dips from 31 December 1998.

Mr. Tyler

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to publish the report of the inter-departmental committee on organophosphate pesticides. [39653]

Mr. Rooker

The report of the interdepartmental committee of officials on organophosphates (OPs) has been submitted to Ministers in the group chaired by my right hon. Friend. It will be published when Ministers have considered its recommendations and reached their conclusions.