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Organophosphates

Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the Government's approach to organophosphates. (102603)

Organophosphates (OPs) are used in a variety of ways and provide a range of benefits. However, they are hazardous chemicals and the Government use the latest scientific advice to provide information on how OP products can be used safely.

Government policy on OPs is developed and coordinated through the Official Group on Organophosphates (OGOP), which was set up in 1997 to provide a liaison forum for Government Departments and agencies. OGOP usually meets on an annual basis and is attended by officials from Defra, Ministry of Defence, Health and Safety Executive and Department of Health and is chaired by the Chief Veterinary Officer.

The terms of reference of OGOP are to:

monitor the processes by which information about OP products is shared between the Government Departments involved, with the aim of ensuring effective coordination; and advise whether any changes in procedure are needed;

draw together all scientific evidence from UK and international sources relevant to the policy issues to which OP products give rise;

advise whether there are any gaps in the current state of scientific knowledge which should be remedied, and if so to propose how the new work might be commissioned;

examine the procedures by which OP products are licensed for different purposes; identify any variations, and advise whether procedures should be changed;

take stock of other questions, cutting across departmental boundaries, as Ministers may refer to them from time to time; with the aim of ensuring that all issues relevant to policy are examined by the appropriate experts and the results or conclusions made available to all Departments concerned.