Strychnine (strychnine hydrochloride) has been used as a cost effective and humane way of controlling the mole population in the UK for many years before being banned under the Biocide Directive (91/414/EEC, 98/8/EC) in 2006. Now moles are being controlled using aluminium phosphide, which is more expensive, causes a long painful death and can also kill other animals accidentally. Therefore, what was the Commission’s reason for the unnecessary ban of strychnine in the first place?
Answer given by Mr Potočnik
on behalf of the Commission
The Biocides Directive 98/8/EC provides for the systematic examination during a 10-year review programme of the active substances contained in biocidal products that were on the market before 14 May 2000 (the so-called ‘existing’ active substances). Use of strychnine to control moles is indeed falling into the scope of this Biocides Directive 98/8/EC. For this purpose, the biocides industry had to identify all the active substances they were using in their products and if they wished to continue using them, they had to notify their intention to submit full data for their evaluation.
The existing active substances that were only identified, i.e. not defended with data by the industry, were given a phase-out period (1 September 2006), after which they could no longer be used for biocidal purposes. Such was the case of strychnine hydrochloride and explains why the use of strychnine hydrochloride was forbidden after 2006.
To modify this legal constraints and to place strychnine hydrochloride on the market for the control of moles again, the required information for its evaluation should be submitted in accordance with Article 11 of the Biocides Directive.