Dáil Éireann - Volume 339 - 09 February, 1983

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Weedkiller Sale Ban.

3. Mr. De Rossa asked the Minister for Health if, in view of the established danger to health, he will ban the sale of weedkillers containing the chemical element 2, 4, 5-T.

Minister for Health (Mr. B. Desmond): I am advised that the weedkillers available in this country which contain 2, 4, 5—T are not hazardous to health when used in accordance with good agricultural practice.

[1418] Mr. De Rossa: A product is available at present across the counter in retail shops in the State called SBK, which is a brushwood killer. According to my information, this product contains 2, 4, 5-T. The only instructions on the package indicate that it should not be allowed to get on a person's hands. Would the Minister not consider that that information indicates that some of this chemical is available and would he investigate the situation?

Mr. B. Desmond: The Commission of the European Communities have recently recommended the immediate reduction of the dioxin level, which is the issue in the drug in question. It recommended the reduction of the dioxin level in 2, 4, 5-T and the Department of Agriculture have indicated that the products on sale here contain less than the recommended level of this chemical. I am quite prepared to take note of what the Deputy has said. If he will give me the details of the actual brand of product, I will approach the Department of Agriculture and also our Department, because we have a function under the Poisons Act.

Mr. De Rossa: Could I just——

An Ceann Comhairle: We are having a little debate on every Question.

Mr. De Rossa: I want to fill the Minister in on the fact that 2, 4, 5-T is already banned in ten countries, most of them European.

Mr. B. Desmond: The FAO and the WHO Committee on Pesticides have found that the levels available here do not present a danger to health. However, any additional information from the Deputy, or any information about the sale of these products in the Republic, will be brought to the attention of the Poisons Division of my Department and the Department of Agriculture, working on both levels. I will be glad to communicate then with the Deputy.