BSJ: Pesticide suppliers must comply with labelling regulations

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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EXECUTIVE director of Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Stephen Wedderburn is calling on suppliers of pesticides to comply with the regulations governing proper labelling in order, to prevent poisoning from improper use and handling of these chemicals.

Wedderburn, who was speaking at the recent Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) annual awards dinner at Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston, said there is a growing trend, among some suppliers, of repackaging small quantities of the product in unlabelled containers.

“We can understand why it is done. Many small operators only want a small amount of a pesticide and don't want to purchase a large container to get the small amount they need — And, it is convenient for some sellers to repackage this into smaller containers. However, this is not in any way a safe practice, or a practice associated with quality,” he noted.

Wedderburn condemned the practice as being a quality failure within the industry and a threat to public health and safety, which can result in very serious health consequences.

“No amount of pesticide, no matter how small, should be sold without proper labelling and appropriate instruction for handling and use. I am urging industry players to stop the practice of repacking and selling in unlabelled packages,” he warned.

Wedderburn said the BSJ stands ready to work with the PCA in finding ways to address the issue.

“The labelling standard is one of the most powerful within the bureau's arsenal in terms of specifying labelling conditions of what can be sold. We do not traditionally get involved in the area of health, but in this particular instance we would be happy to work with the PCA to address the labelling issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, registrar of the PCA, Tamara Morrison, said her organisation continues to conduct public education activities on the issue.

“There are many persons who use pesticides on a daily basis who do not know the label is the law. They do not read what they are buying because even some of the household pesticides, there are persons who are not using them in the correct manner,” the registrar said.

“Training is also conducted by our inspectors in pesticide safety, and they train pest control applicators as well as farmers,” Morrison added.

Nearly all pesticides are toxic and can be potentially dangerous to humans if exposure is excessive. Pesticides can, however, be used safely.

By law, certain kinds of information must appear on a pesticide label. These include product name, type of pesticide, active ingredients, pesticide formulation, directions for use, precautionary statements, first aid information, protective equipment, storage and disposal of product.

Applicators have the legal responsibility to read, understand, and follow the label directions.

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