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Emamectin benzoate

Slice, Proclaim

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold
0.001 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Water
0.001 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Waste Water
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?
Emamectin benzoate is usually found as a mixture of two forms, which is a cream coloured powder. It is non corrosive and stable, except that it is flammable and may explode in the presence of strong oxidising agents. Emamectin benzoate melts at around 145 degrees celsius. It dissolves only slightly in water and seawater, but dissolves well in organic (carbon-containing) solvents.
What is it used for?
Emamectin benzoate is a pesticide which works by interfering with nerve impulses in the body. It is used in agricultural settings to control insects amongst vegetable crops such as cabbage and broccolli and on cotton plants - and in fish farms to control parasites such as sealice.
Where does it come from?
Releases of Emamectin benzoate occur as a result of its use as a pesticide. It might also be released during its manufacture, transport and storage. There are not thought to be any natural sources of Emamectin benzoate to the environment.
How might it affect the environment?
Emamectin benzoate is toxic to birds, mammals, fish and other aquatic organisms (particularly those living on the sea bed). Provided guidelines for safe use are followed, Emamectin benzoate should not harm wildlife or the environment. It is rapidly eliminated and excreted by fish and does not bioconcentrate in any organisms. Due to its low solubility in water, most releases will end up in sediments or particulate material. It is usually dispersed fairly efficiently, but is otherwise not particularly mobile. The amount of time taken for it to be broken down depends on the conditions (availability of oxygen, acidity), but it is usually removed within a few months. However, one of the main products of its breakdown is equally as toxic. Releases of Emamectin benzoate are only likely to have an impact on a local scale and are not thought to be of concern at a global level.
How might exposure to it affect human health?
Emamectin benzoate can enter the body either by inhalation of air containing emamectin benzoate, ingestion of contaminated food or water, or by dermal contact with emamectin benzoate. There is little evidence as to the full effects of exposure to emamectin benzoate on human health. However, exposure to emamectin benzoate may cause irritation of the respiratory tract, eyes and skin. Animal studies suggest that exposure to emamectin benzoate may also cause tremors. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has not designated emamectin benzoate in terms of its carcinogenicity. However, exposure to emamectin benzoate 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 Emamectin benzoate are controlled through the Food and Environmental Protection Act (FEPA 1985), the Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR 1986) and the UK Pollution, Prevention and Control (PPC) Regulations. It is also regulated through the European Directive concerned with levels of pesticide residues in foods (93/58/EC) - which in Scotland is implemented by the Maximum Levels in Crops, Foods and Feedstuffs regulations (MRL 2000).