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Linuron

Afalon, Lorox, Linurex

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold
0.01 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Water
0.01 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Waste Water
Disclaimer
This sheet is a generic summary, designed to give the reader a basic level of background information about the substance in question. Great care has been taken to represent as effectively and correctly as possible the broad range of (not necessarily consistent) information which is available from a variety of sources. The reader must accept therefore that this sheet has no legal status and cannot be relied upon in any legal proceedings. SEPA disclaims any responsibility or liability whatsoever for errors and omissions in this sheet.
What is it?
Under normal conditions, Linuron is found as white crystals, flakes or powder, which have no smell. It melts at 93 degrees celsius. Linuron is only very slightly soluble in water and has variable solubility in different types of organic (carbon-containing) solvents.
What is it used for?
Linuron is used as a herbicide, applied to soils before plants emerge and also to soils around growing crops. It is used mainly to control grasses and other weeds amongst cereal crops and vegetables.
Where does it come from?
Linuron is released to the environment mainly during its application as a herbicide. It may also be released during its manufacture, transport and storage. There are not thought to be any natural sources of Linuron to the environment.
How might it affect the environment?
Linuron is known to be very toxic to aquatic organisms and exposure to high levels is thought likely to harm other wildlife as well. There is concern that Linuron may mimic the behaviour of animals hormones, that it is an "endocrine disruptor". Linuron binds strongly to soils and is naturally broken down within 3-4 months. A relatively small amount enters water bodies as a result of run-off or accidental spills. This binds strongly to sediments, where it is broken down in a similar manner to its degradation in soils. Linuron can enter the atmosphere by evaporation or when it is sprayed onto crops. It is broken down in air within a matter of days. It is not considered likely that Linuron pollution has any effects on the global environment.
How might exposure to it affect human health?
Linuron can enter the body either by ingestion of contaminated food or water, or by dermal contact with linuron. Ingestion of linuron may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Dermal contact with linuron can cause skin irritation. Eye contact can cause irritation. There is little evidence available as to the effects of exposure to linuron on human health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has not designated linuron in terms of its carcinogenicity. However, exposure to linuron at normal background levels is unlikely to have any adverse effect on human health.
What steps are being taken to limit the potential impacts?
Releases of Linuron are controlled through the UK Pollution, Prevention and Control (PPC) Regulations, the Food and Environmental Protection Act (FEPA 1985), the Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR 1986) and the UK Surface Waters (Dangerous Substances) Regulations (SI 1997/2560). European Directives concerned with releases of Linuron include that which controls pollution of the aquatic environment by dangerous substances (76/464/EEC). Linuron is also regulated internationally through the OSPAR and Helsinki Conventions, which protect the marine environments of the north-east Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea respectively.