HL Deb 08 September 2003 vol 652 cc85-6WA
Lord Lucas

asked Her Majesty's Government:

With reference to the suspension on 19 April 2002 of a range of insecticides containing dichlorvos—

  1. (a) what scientific, peer-reviewed evidence was used by the Advisory Committee on Pesticides in formulating the conclusion that dichlorvos might be genotoxic;
  2. (b) what evidence has subsequently become available to support or oppose this conclusion;
  3. WA 86
  4. (c) what research is under way to establish the truth or otherwise of this conclusion; and
  5. (d) what research or data gathering they are undertaking to monitor the incidence of clothes moth infestation in England. [HL4047]

Lord Whitty

Dichlorvos was assessed as a part of the UK's review of anticholinesterase compounds. The UK approval holder submitted data in support of the review, including a number of laboratory studies that identified potential mutagenic effects from the use of pesticides containing dichlorvos. These included studies concerning direct effects on DNA, and on chromosome structure and number.

Summaries of the data were submitted to the Advisory Committee on Pesticides. The committee concluded, with the assistance of advice from the Committee on Mutagenicity, that dichlorvos should be regarded as an in-vivo mutagen at the site of contact, and that no threshold could be assumed for the mutagenic and carcinogenic effects of dichlorvos.

Ministers' decision to suspend all dichlorvos approvals was taken on a precautionary basis m the light of the committees' advice. These suspensions will continue until such time as the approval holders submit further data providing reassurances regarding the mutagenic and carcinogenic potential of dichlorvos.

There is no ongoing government research or investigations into the incidence of clothes moth infestations in England.