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The Pesticide Registration Process in Belize

in Issue 16 by

The formal scheme for the registration of pesticides by trade name, concentration of active ingredient and formulation commenced in Belize in 1995 with the implementation and enforcement of Statutory Instrument # 77 of 1995 Registered and Restricted Pesticides (Registration) Regulations, which was signed into law by the Hon. Minister of Agriculture Russell Garcia.

This step was one which had been recognized as a necessary step at the FAO Round Table on the Regulation of Pesticides held in Belize in 1989 for the further development of Belize’s pesticides regulatory framework. Prior to this development, and with the establishment of the Pesticides Control Board (PCB) on 31 December 1988, there existed an informal scheme for the approval of pesticide active ingredients. Pesticide importation was then open for any pesticide formulation so long as it contained an approved active ingredient. Presently, only pesticide formulations duly registered by the PCB are allowed entry into and use in the country.

Pesticide registration by trade name and formulation is the globally accepted regulatory norm which allows for the comprehensive technical review of a specific pesticide product. In Belize, this review is based on a regionally harmonized data set submitted by the pesticide manufacturer or formulator. The data submitted includes information on both the active ingredient and the formulation’s physical and chemical properties, toxicological and eco-toxicological study reports, manufacturing and analytical processes, reports on the product’s bio-efficacy, and aspects related to its post-registration product stewardship such as remnant management.

The registration procedure entails a preliminary screening of the registration dossier by the Registrar of Pesticides, followed by a technical review by the Registration Committee which is comprised of members from the agriculture, health and environment public sectors. Once a pesticide is reviewed and considered appropriate for use in Belize, the Committee recommends its registration to the PCB at one of its quarterly meetings for approval and entry in the Register of Pesticides. In Belize, registered pesticides are classified as either general-use or restricted-use. Restricted-use pesticides are those which belong to the World Health Organization’s Class 1a and 1b pesticides, and which have been considered to be the most hazardous as it relates to acute toxicity. In order to purchase and/or use a restricted-use pesticide in Belize, a pesticide user must first demonstrate his capability to handle such a pesticide by attending training and taking a written or oral evaluation which, if successful, is rewarded with a Certified Pesticide Applicator’s license.

The third classification of pesticides is the one designated for prohibited or banned pesticides. Aside from most of the organochlorine insecticides such as aldrin, dieldrin, endosulfan and toxaphene, which were banned when the Pesticides Control Act came into effect in 1988, also included in the schedule of prohibited pesticides are others which are known to cause unreasonable adverse effects to human health and the environment. Most of these pesticides are no longer manufactured for use, and several are the subject of global phase-out plans.

Future work for the PCB, and specifically the Registration Committee, in terms of development of the pesticide approval process, is the review of current registrations in line with newly available information on their behavior in the environment and local conditions of use which may be contributing to pesticide misuse and abuse, and for which additional regulatory controls may thus be warranted and necessary for the continued protection of human health and the environment.

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