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France among states to keep danger pesticide

MONTREAL, March 26 (AFP) – The United States and 10 other countries won an exemption to a 180-country UN ban of an ozone-depleting pesticide.

International envoys in session since Wednesday hammered out an agreement to allow use of methyl bromide, a pesticide harmful to humans and to the ozone layer. The UN’s 1987 Montreal Protocol banned use of the pesticide which is supposed to be phased out by next year.

Under Friday’s agreement, the 11 developed countries received exemptions totaling 13,438 tonnes for 2005. The 2001 consumption figure for all 34 developed countries in 2001 was 23,488 tonnes. For developing countries it was 18,058.

The 11 countries were: Australia (145 tonnes), Belgium (47), Canada (56), France (407), Greece (186), Italy (2,133), Japan (284), Portugal (50), Spain (1,059), Britain (129) and the United States (8,942).

The United States agreed to limit its 2005 production of methyl bromide to 7,659 tonnes, equal to 30 of its 1991 production, the UN said. The United States and eight EU countries will supply their combined exemption from existing stockpiles.

Methyl bromide damages the ozone layer, a stratospheric shield against the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which cause skin cancer and cataracts in humans, as well as injury to animals and crops.

The pesticide is used to fumigate high-value crops, for pest control and in quarantine treatment of agricultural exports.

The 180-country Montreal Protocol reached under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program agreed to phase out by January 2005 some 100 ozone-depleting chemicals, including methyl bromide.

Adherence to the protocol promised in 50 years to reverse ozone-layer damage, UNEP said.

The protocol provides for exemptions for health or safety reasons when no technologically or economically feasible substitute may be found. For example, ozone-depleting CFCs are used in metered dose inhalers in treating asthma.


                                         Subject: French news