Denmark has banned herbicides containing bifenox after finding levels in groundwater exceeded safety limits.
Bifenox was authorised for use in cereals, rape and seed grass in Denmark in 2008. Based on the reassessment by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency the producer has decided to stop selling Fox 480 SC in Denmark but farmers will be allowed to use up existing stockpiles.
Based on tests in the Danish Pesticide Leaching Assessment Programme and new model calculations, Fox 480 SC is considered to constitute an unacceptable risk with regard to leaching of the metabolite bifenox acid when used in cereals and rape. Furthermore, there is insufficient evidence to show that use in seed grass will not cause unacceptable leaching of bifenox acid.
The tests in the Danish Pesticide Leaching Assessment Programme show that leaching of bifenox acid in concentrations over > 0.1 µg/L occurs in groundwater installations in Silstrup following autumn use in spring barley with undersowing at a dose of 720 g as/ha and autumn use in seed grass at a dose of 720 g as/ha.
New tests in the Pesticide Leaching Assessment Programme also show that the metabolite nitrofen is formed under Danish field conditions. This metabolite was listed in the Prohibition Directive, Dir. 79/117/EEC in 1987. Nitrofen is according to Dir. 67/548/EEC classified; Carc. Cat. 2; R45, Repr. Cat. 2; R61, Xn; R22 and N; R50/53. Insufficient documentation has been presented with regard to nitrofen's fate and environmental effects to carry out a proper risk assessment. Due to the severe classification, there is a risk that nitrofen constitutes an unacceptable risk to the environment.
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