Pesticides, including insecticides for protecting stored products, are subject to official approval in accordance with §11 of the German Pesticides Act (PflSchG). According to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Foodstuff Safety, these licensable insecticides also include inert gases.
Part of the approval procedure is not just the investigation of substance-related data such as toxicological, physical and chemical properties, but also an examination and evaluation of the effects on human and animal health, groundwater and the ecosystem.
In addition, evidence of sufficient effectiveness (in the case of fumigation in stored products: 100% mortality) is an important condition of approval. The provisional instructions for use submitted by the applicant along with the approval application are checked and subjected to the necessary provisions for protecting human and animal health and preventing other harmful effects, particularly in respect of the ecosystem.
The verified instructions in conjunction with the evidence of effectiveness is particularly important for the user of the product, as it offers a high degree of security in respect of its effectiveness, occupational safety aspects and functional capability, and facilitates acceptance of the equipment by the factory inspectorate.
Until now, the treatment method generally used has been with insecticides or toxic gases such as methyl bromide, phosphine or hydrocyanic acid. Under certain circumstances these can leave residues in the treated product, which are a matter of concern not just because of the increasing health consciousness of consumers. In addition, working with these toxic gases is also problematic from the point of view of environmental protection and occupational safety, especially as political pressure can be expected to grow as a result of the increase in the number of chemical accidents that have become known. In the meantime, ethylene oxide may no longer be used for pest control due to its carcinogenic potential and the formation of toxic metabolites. Other even less well known processes change the treated material permanently.