By Duncan Poupard
The Chinese Ministries of Transportation, Agriculture and Public Security, together with the State Administration of Work Safety have issued new regulations regarding pesticide transportation. Pesticides classified as being of negligible and low toxicity, as well as median toxicity pesticides whose individual containers are within 5 kg or 5 litres, can be transported as ordinary freight. Acute and highly toxic pesticides are to be transported as hazardous freight. There are 600 types of pesticide registered in China, and 23,000 registered pesticide products.
According to the country's national standard for pesticide registration toxicity testing, 0.07% of the 23,000 registered pesticides are classified as acutely toxic, some 3.6% are highly toxic, while 23.1% are of median toxicity and 67.2% are of low toxicity. The remaining 6.1% are classified as being of negligible toxicity, reports the Ministry of Agriculture's Institute for the Control of Agrochemicals (ICAMA).
Previously, all pesticides were classified as dangerous chemicals, and transportation procedures were difficult to uphold and complicated to carry out. In many places, pesticides were either not transportable or were transported illegally, the ICAMA notes. Under the new regulations, over 90% of pesticide products can be transported as ordinary freight, which will guarantee “timely and fluid pesticide freight”, increasing farmers' access to pesticides and reducing the operational burden for pesticide manufacturers. Preliminary calculations suggest that the regulations will help enterprises save Yuan 2,000 million ($293 million) in transportation costs each year, the ICAMA predicts.