Lobby groups call for Lindane ban following leaked report

The UK government is being urged to ban the sale of the pesticide lindane, following the leaking of an EU report recommending that the chemical be suspended from sale.

The report, by the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, is not due to be published for many months while it is discussed by member states.

It lists a number of harmful effects of lindane:

  • category 3 carcinogenic substance
  • hormone disruption
  • behavioural changes
  • nervous system damage
  • immune system damage
  • birth defects

The report says that unless more research is carried out it is impossible to set a safe level of exposure for lindane. Data on toxicity to birds, fish, small mammals and aquatic life is also said to be lacking. Lindane is already banned in Sweden, Denmark and France (in agriculture) and is subject to a long running world wide campaign by the Pesticides Action Network.

The Pesticides Trust, Friends of the Earth, Unison and the Women’s Environmental Network have written to Agriculture Jeff Rooker and Environment Minister Michael Meacher asking them to withdraw lindane from sale in the UK immediately.

Lindane is sold in the UK as a seed and wood treatment and as an insecticidal spray for a number of food crops and is on sale to both companies and individuals. In 1997, 100,000kg were used in agriculture.

According to The Pesticides Trust, there is growing evidence linking exposure and breast cancer, and in recent years lindane residues have been found in dairy produce.

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