Concerns regarding environmental pollution due to irrational use of pesticides are growing day by day among scientists, environmentalists, farmers and the common man. Since agrochemicals help farmers to attain better productivity in terms of both quantity and quality, they have been widely used but with less discretion. This can be majorly attributed to the lack of knowledge on optimum levels of agrochemicals to be used to attain higher yields and also the ill-effects of non-specific or overuse of these products. These agrochemical residues further enter the food chain and cause serious damage to human health. They also pose a danger to the health of aquatic and terrestrial animals.
Pesticides regulation in the United States
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the federal body that is responsible for regulating pesticides in the United States. The EPA regulates pesticides usage through acts such as:
- Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) that regulates the sale, distribution and use of pesticides
- Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) that sets the permissible levels of pesticide residues, known as tolerances, on food or animal feed
- Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) which assesses the existing tolerances and amend them periodically as per the new standards. This act amended FIFRA and FFDCA by setting standards for new pesticides used on food crops
- Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) which establishes the procedures and norms for pesticide registration
- Endangered Species Act (ESA) which assesses the risks pesticides pose to endangered and threatened species and their niches
Pesticides regulation in India
India is the fourth largest manufacturer of pesticides and all the related operations are regulated by the Insecticides Act, 1968 and Insecticides Rules, 1971. The initial regulation of the Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) of agrochemicals in food products was done through the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA), 1955. Later, the enactment of Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006 phased the PFA rules into the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2010. The registration of all categories of agrochemicals should be done with Insecticides Board and Registration Committee, Ministry of Agriculture under various sections of insecticides act before their manufacturing and marketing. The approval of a crop protection chemical by the state governments of each state follows.
Management of the Pesticides
The effects of the pesticides on life are manifold. As a result, besides pesticide legislation, other regulations on human and occupational health, environmental safety and protection, farming practices and international trade etc. are likely to affect pesticides either directly or indirectly. Various frameworks governing pesticide management at international and national levels have undergone noticeable changes over the past two and a half decades. Food and Agriculture organization implemented the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides in 1985. It has been recently updated in 2013 to include public health pesticides and the title was changed to The International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management (Code of Conduct). However, legislation alone cannot guarantee the effective management of pesticides. The government should underpin an organized infrastructure for registering pesticides and enforcing legislation.
Online course on Agribusiness at James Lind Institute
To know more about agrochemical use and management, register yourself for an online training program on agribusiness being launched at James Lind Institute. This module acquaints you with various aspects of agriculture and allied sectors. James Lind Institute is a pioneer in the field of online training courses in various fields such as clinical development, public health and tropical medicine, pharmaceutical medicine, medical communication and journalism and social and environmental sciences. The globally accredited and industry-specific training fine-tune your skills to match the needs of the ever-growing market. James Lind Institute will soon be launching online training programs on agribusiness. For more details, please visit www.jliedu.com