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Chemistry International
Vol. 23, No.6
November 2001


New Publications from the World Health Organization

Chemistry and Specifications of Pesticides, 16 th Report of the WHO Expert Committee on Vector Biology and Control, WHO Technical Report Series No. 899, 2001, iv + 68 pages (available in English; French and Spanish in preparation), ISBN 92-4-120899-6, CHF 14.-/USD 12.60; In developing countries: CHF 9.80, Order No. 1100897.

This book records the conclusions of an expert committee commissioned to evaluate trends in the use of pesticides for public health purposes, to identify issues of safety or quality requiring international attention, and to propose appropriate actions. The committee also recommends specifications for individual pesticides for use in quality control by purchasing and regulatory authorities. Information in the report responds to striking recent changes in the use of pesticides, including further integration of vector control into basic health services, greater individual responsibility for personal protection, and greater community responsibility for vector control.

The report has two parts. The first discusses several activities aimed at improving the safety and quality of pesticides used in vector and public health pest control. The WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme is described in the first section, which explains the scheme's methodology of evaluation and testing, and outlines several activities designed to strengthen and expand its role. Section 2 assesses regional trends in the use of pesticides, concentrating on public health initiatives that account for the greatest use of specific insecticides and larvicides. On the basis of this analysis, the report draws a number of conclusions concerning the continuing importance of vector-borne disease, the continued reliance on chemical methods of control, and the need for better monitoring and management of insecticide resistance. A section on analytical methods and quality control in developing countries addresses the major problem of substandard products and the need to make quality control capacity available in all countries currently lacking access to the necessary analytical facilities. In response to recent trends, a section on specifications for pesticides reviews the current status of specifications being developed for household insecticide products, bacterial larvicides, and plant-based pesticides, and makes recommendations for the establishment of appropriate WHO specifications. Possibilities for harmonizing procedures used in the development of specifications for agricultural and public health pesticides are also considered. The remaining sections address the need for guidance on safety and stability issues relating to containers, packaging, and the marking and storage of pesticides, and issue recommendations for responding to the wide-spread and common problem of unusable pesticide stocks requiring costly disposal operations. The second part of the report issues recommended changes to existing specifications for 20 pesticides, recommended specifications for two new pesticides and formulations, and procedures for performing four new WHO test methods.




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