COMMISSION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION
THREE COUNTRIES WORKING TOGETHER TO PROTECT OUR SHARED ENVIRONMENT
The objective of this North American Regional Action Plan (NARAP) on chlordane is to reduce the exposure of humans and the environment to chlordane through the phase-out of existing registered uses.
This NARAP supports:
Chlordane is a persistent pesticide that has, in the past, been widely used for the control of insect pests in crops and forests, as well as in domestic and industrial applications, including the control of termites in wood and wood products. Chlordane is a persistent, toxic, bioaccumulative substance that is transported long distances through the atmosphere. The 114 member countries of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) agreed that there was sufficient evidence to warrant international action on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS), including chlordane (IFCS/Forum-II/97). This was the basis for a decision of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (January 1997) to the effect that a legally binding international instrument for the control of POPs be developed. This NARAP is intended as a basis for a coordinated, regional contribution to these international initiatives.
Chlordane is no longer registered for use in Canada and the United States and its use in Mexico is limited to urban applications for the control of termites. The chemical is not manufactured in Canada or Mexico, but only by a single manufacturer in the United States which has indicated that it will cease production of chlordane. The chlordane used in Mexico (approximately 45 tonnes of technical product per year) is imported from the United States.
This NARAP was developed by the three Parties to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), working with the Secretariat of the (North American) Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), in accordance with Resolution #95-05 on the Sound Management of Chemicals which was agreed to by the Council of the CEC. It could serve as a guide for action for other countries in Latin America or in other regions and be supportive of global initiatives.
Chlordane was first registered in Canada in 1949 for the control of insect pests in crops and forests, as well as for domestic and industrial applications. It was never manufactured in Canada. In response to environmental and safety concerns, most uses of chlordane were phased-out by the mid-1970s. In December 1985, with the exception of its use to control subterranean termites by licensed pesticide applicators, applications for the use of chlordane were suspended. Even its use against termites was voluntarily discontinued by the registrant in 1990, with the understanding that the existing stock would be sold, used or disposed-of by the end of 1995. After this date, any sale or use of chlordane in Canada represents a violation of the Pest Control Products Act.
Pesticides that are not legally registered in Canada are refused entry and returned to the exporter. The Importation for Manufacturing and Export Programme for Pest Control Products does not allow for the importation of chlordane for the purposes of reformulation and subsequent export. In addition, exports of chlordane would be subject to notification according to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. No such notifications have been received.
The gradual restriction of the range of permitted uses of chlordane was facilitated by the availability of alternatives that are safer and effective, and less persistent. The phased reduction was also important, in that it helped avoid the creation of a large-scale disposal problem.
Provincial legislation provides additional regulatory powers to control the transportation, storage, disposal and use of pest control products, taking into account regional conditions and concerns. Municipalities may also control aspects of pesticide use and disposal.
Since the mid-1980s, programs have been set up at the provincial and municipal level across Canada to collect hazardous wastes. These programs generally include pesticides that are no longer used, have been discontinued or are banned. Hazardous waste management facilities handle the products according to federal and provincial guidelines.
In most provinces, rural collection programs have been established at different times specifically to collect pesticides that were no longer being used. One example is that of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs which in 1991-92 conducted the Ontario Waste Agricultural Pesticide Collection Programme. This effort was widely publicized and resulted in the collection of approximately 293 kilograms of chlordane. A subsequent pilot project (The Pesticide Disposal Pilot Project), for the disposal of waste, registered and discontinued pesticide products, was initiated in August 1995. As of August 1996 no chlordane had been brought forward for disposal. Limited quantities (e.g., 2 kilograms) of chlordane have been reported in municipal collections of Household Hazardous Waste Collection programmes, though information on specific chemicals is not available from all sites.
There are no maximum residue levels for chlordane in food commodities in Canada. An action level of 0.1 ppm is in effect for residues of chlordane in dairy products and meat and meat byproducts. This level has been established based on monitoring information collected on domestic and imported foods and is periodically revised as new information becomes available.
There are no US registrations for chlordane, which means it cannot be imported or used for pest control purposes. Regulatory actions related to chlordane use in agriculture began in 1978, and by 1995 all registrations of other uses (including as a termiticide) were terminated.
At present, the United States has no legislative authority to prohibit the production or export of pesticides canceled from US use for health or environmental reasons. However, chlordane is now subject to the export notification requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which means that for each shipment, the manufacturer must obtain a statement from the foreign purchaser, indicating the purchaser's awareness that the product is not registered for use in the United States. That statement is then transmitted by the EPA to the government of the importing country.
The sole US manufacturer of chlordane and heptachlor, Velsicol Chemical Corporation, has produced roughly 900 to 1300 tonnes each year of these chemicals, nearly all for export. (Heptachlor still has one registered use in the United States-for application by authorized utility company personnel to control fire ants in utility boxes.) However, in May 1997, Velsicol announced that it had voluntarily ceased production of chlordane in the United States and around the world. Velsicol has indicated to EPA that it will comply with the voluntary prior informed consent procedure implemented by FAO and UNEP, which stipulates that if an importing country has canceled its registrations, and has indicated to the FAO/UNEP Secretariat that it no longer wishes to receive future imports of a chemical, the export of the product to that country should not occur. EPA supports the principles of prior informed consent and will encourage exporting industries to respect them.
No maximum residue levels for food commodities are in place, although there are "action levels" for a variety of crops, most of which do not exceed 0.1 ppm. (the action level in fish is 0.3 ppm.).
Chlordane was originally introduced into Mexico, as in many other countries, for extensive use in agriculture. Currently, however, use of the pesticide is limited to termite control in certain wood products.
From 1990 to 1996, a total of 212.8 tonnes of technical product were imported from the United States, as shown in the following table.
In 1973, chlordane was included among registered pesticides (as a 50 percent technical ingredient) for its direct application to soils. Reference was also made to twelve other formulations in different percentages. In 1978, 31 formulations were registered and permitted for use in Mexico to control pests in corn and sorghum (with active ingredient concentrations ranging between 5 and 40 percent).
In 1988, chlordane was listed as a restricted pesticide. In 1989, the first Official Catalogue of Pesticides, published by the Interministerial Commission for the Control of Production and Use of Pesticides, Fertilizers and Toxic Chemicals (Cicoplafest), mentioned that "[chlordane] can only be applied under the supervision of trained and authorized personnel." From 1992 until 1996 (the date of the last publication of the Cicoplafest catalogue), the only authorized use of chlordane was in "urban use" for the control of termites in installations, structures, and wood construction. Currently, "urban use" is defined as "use in residential zones, ...[a] primary use being on telephone poles." Product labels must include the statement that the chemical can be applied only by authorized personnel in urban areas.
In 1997, there remain nine registered uses of chlordane in Mexico: one for technical grade chlordane and eight for the formulated product in concentrations ranging between 380 and 500 g/l. Mexico does not manufacture the active ingredient but chlordane formulations are prepared in Mexico by one company. Of the 32 Mexican states, only four (Nuevo Leon, Jalisco, Coahuila and Mexico), and the Distrito Federal (Mexico City) are supplied with the formulated product. The only company that has registered the technical product stopped importation in early 1997 and has now completely depleted its stocks.
Supported by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, chlordane is one of the initial targets of the Sound Management of Chemicals initiative under the North American Agreement for Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). Through the joint efforts of the three countries, an effective control strategy for termites in Mexico will be identified to phase-out existing registered uses of chlordane by 1998 and assure that the substance is no longer released to the environment in North America.
As a part of this NARAP, the Parties are committing to ongoing cooperative activities and the yearly reporting of progress to the North American Working Group for the Sound Management of Chemicals. These reports will subsequently be made public and forwarded to the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. The Parties will also continue their commitment to the principles of prior informed consent: i.e., if an importing country does not consent to importation, the exporting country has the obligation to inform the exporting industry of that decision and take appropriate legislative and administrative measures to ensure that exportation does not occur.
The three countries will take regulatory and administrative actions, including the following:
Mexico will embark upon a three-phase regulatory program that will include, but is not limited to:
Stakeholders, including occupationally exposed individuals, public interest groups and representatives from industry, will be encouraged to participate in the development of control strategies and in the identification of effective, safer alternatives.
- Notification of customs authorities: Following the publication of the decision to prohibit the importation of chlordane, customs authorities will be officially notified.
- Chlordane sales and use control: Limits will be set on sales to authorized, trained personnel and restrictions regarding their use or supervision of such will be enforced
- Prohition of formulation: In January 1998 the formulation of chlordane will be prohibited .
- Prohibition of use: In December 1998 the use of chlordane will be prohibited.
- Monitoring of existing stocks: The continued reduction of existing stocks will be monitored by distributors and retailers and reported to the Ministry of Health.