Chlordecone

Alternatives to chlordecone exist and can be implemented inexpensively. Many countries have already banned its sale and use. The main objective to phase out chlordecone would be to identify and manage obsolete stockpiles and wastes.

Note that following information is extracted from the risk management evaluation document (UNEP-POPS-POPRC.3-20-Add.2).

Information on alternative pesticides has been reported from Canada and USA. France has provided information related to the use of Chlordecone in Guadeloupe and Martinique. It should be noted that the chemical alternatives mentioned below are not concluded as safe or recommended by the POP Review Committee. 

Description of alternatives 

According to Environment Canada, several alternatives to the pesticide uses of Chlordecone are currently registered and in use in Canada. However, the table referred to was not provided (Annex F responses, Canada 2007). In the USA, the following alternatives are registered for use to control specific pests (NPIRS, 2007, referenced in the Annex F responses, USA, 2007): 

  • Banana root borer: ethoprop, oxamyl
  • Tobacco wireworms: cyfluthrin, imidacloprid.
  • Ants and/or cockroaches: azadirachtin, bifenthrin, boric acid, carbaryl, capsaicin, cypermethrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, diazinon, ichlorvos,esfenvalerate, imidacloprid, lamda-cyhalothrin, malathion, permethrin, piperonyl butoxide, pyrethrins, pyriproxyfen, resmethrin, s-bioallerthrin,tetramethrin. 

An assessment of these alternatives has not been provided by the USEPA. 

According to a French study on the use of Chlordecone in the French Antilles (Beaugrande et al., 2005), the farmers used the following substances as substitutes after the use of Chlordecone had been stopped: 

  • Aldicarb 
  • Isophenphos
  • Phenamiphos
  • Cadusaphos
  • Terbuphos

The authors concluded that exemptions for the use of Chlordecone were no longer justified as appropriate substitutes for Chlordecone were available. According to another French study on organochlorine pollution in the French Antilles (Cabidoche et al., 2006), pesticides used as Chlordecone alternatives in Guadeloupe and Martinique (such as cadusaphos) are biodegradable within several weeks. Contracting Parties which reported no historical production or use did not report on alternatives. Alternative pesticide products have been reviewed by the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and the environmental and health risks associated with their pesticide uses have been considered acceptable (Annex F responses, Canada 2007). 

Alternatives to chlordecone also include non-chemical agro-ecological methods such as preventative pest management through appropriate fertility and field sanitation practices that reduce pest pressure; the use and habitat enhancement of natural enemies; microbial preparations such as Bacillus thuringiensis; cultural practices such as crop rotation, intercropping, and trap cropping; barrier methods, such as screens, and bagging of fruit; use of traps such as pheromone and light traps to attract and kill insects. These and other agro-ecological methods are being extensively and successfully practised in many countries, eliminating the need for Chlordecone or other chemical interventions. 

Algeria compiled principal measures to control the impact of pesticides without specifically addressing Chlordecone as a pesticide. Measures included preventive techniques (e.g. soil aeration), mechanical control techniques (e.g. raking), burning of weeds, use of antagonistic macro-organisms (insects, parasites, predator insects), use of bio-insecticides and pesticides, and the use of composed measures such as application of precautionary principle, permitting, information and education, research and development, and environmentally sound waste management to protect environment and human health. 

CropLife, the international association for the pesticides industry, did not provide any information but stated that a comparative evaluation of the risk of the alternatives to Chlordecone is meaningless as a risk evaluation was never performed for Chlordecone itself (Annex F responses, CropLife, 2007). 

Technical feasibility

Alternative pesticide products are currently being utilized in Canada and the USA. Technical feasibility is a requirement for registration by Canada’s PMRA. (Annex F responses, 2007). Non-chemical agro-ecological methods are currently being used in many countries as alternatives to chemical insecticides, including Chlordecone. 

Costs, including environmental and health costs

Information on costs of alternatives has not been provided by Parties. In Canada however, PMRA reviewed environmental and health risks from alternatives in use and considered them acceptable (Annex F responses, Canada 2007). Correspondingly, at least a slight benefit for both the environment and health could be expected. According to IPEN, there are important general points to consider when evaluating the costs of alternatives for any product (Ackerman et al., 2006) as specified in: 

Alternatives with a higher initial purchase cost may actually be more cost effective over the life of the product when durability and other factors are taken into account; • Mass-production of alternatives can significantly lower their costs 

Efficacy

 Alternative pesticide products have been reviewed by the PMRA and have been determined to be efficacious for each registered pesticide use (Annex F responses, Canada 2007). 

Availability

The alternative pesticide products listed in chapter 2.1.1.  were readily available in the USA. In Canada, availability of all the registered alternatives listed in 2.1.1. was reported tao be market dependent. (Annex F responses, 2007). Nonchemical agro-ecological alternatives are widely available throughout many countries. 

Accessibility

The alternatives listed in chapter 2.1.1 are accessible in the USA and was reported in Canada to be market dependent. (Annex F responses, 2007)

For further information, please refer to 

  • UNEP/POPS/POPRC.5/10/Add.1 – General guidance on considerations related to alternatives and substitutes for listed persistent organic pollutants and candidate chemicals
  • Risk profile ArChEnFrRuSp (PDF)
  • Risk management evaluation ArChEnFrRuSp (PDF)