The pesticide chlorothalonil is officially banned in Costa Rica after President Rodrigo Chaves signed an official decree prohibiting its use.
This decree highlights that Chlorothalonil is a non-systemic fungicide used on a wide range of crops, including vegetables and fruits. However, its persistence in the environment and the negative impacts derived from its use have raised concerns.
The degradation of Chlorothalonil in soil depends on several factors and can generate metabolites that are of concern to health and the environment. It has been identified that this chemical can be highly toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates, especially when applied during periods of rainfall.
In addition, it is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and is considered a potential endocrine disruptor with effects on embryonic development.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that there are critical concerns related to the contamination of groundwater by Chlorothalonil metabolites.
In April 2023, following a technical report issued by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Environment and Energy, and the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewerage, different recommendations were established for the management of chlorothalonil pesticide, among which the prohibition of its use was requested.
The Constitutional Chamber, for its part, established mandatory compliance with the provisions of the report, and, for that reason, after a series of meetings and inter-institutional efforts, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Environment and Energy, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock signed the decree prohibiting the use of chlorothalonil.
“It seems to me a great victory for the environmental sector that managed, through administrative and legal actions, to demonstrate to businessmen and the Executive Branch that we must think about future generations and the protection of highly fragile and finite assets,” commented Alvaro Sagot, environmental lawyer. Costa Rica’s Ministries of Health, Environment, and Energy, and Agriculture and Livestock are working closely together to formulate a comprehensive pesticide management policy that seeks to reduce the risks associated with