When Chemical Management Met Agrochemicals

chemical management
Agricultural chemicals has revolutionized our relationships with food; however, these chemicals can be toxic and are thus closely regulated. Image Source: Flickr user Nicholas A. Tonelli

The widespread use of agricultural chemicals has revolutionized our diets and our lives

Agricultural chemicals (also known as agrochemicals) have completely transformed our relationship with food by enabling nations to feed more people than ever before, thereby allowing citizens to eat more than they ever have. The chemical compounds described as agrochemicals include all products used in agriculture such as pesticides, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, hormones for increased growth, and other chemically-based growth agents. Generally, these chemical compounds are used to increase crop yield and improve their quality while reducing costs. These crops are then used to create animal feed and produce.

Importantly, however, agrochemicals can be toxic and thus can pose environmental and health risk if mishandled. For example, the Health and Environment Linkages Initiative (HELI)—a subsidiary of the World Health Organization (WHO)—has said approximately 355,000 people die each year as a result of unintentional poisonings that are associated strongly with “excessive exposure to, and inappropriate use of, toxic chemicals…from industrial processes.” Unsurprisingly, then, as the market for agricultural chemicals experiences significant growth (especially in Asia-Pacific) and is expected to reach an estimated value of $261.9 billion by 2019, it is also being regulated more severely.

New fears require new solutions

Recently, the World Health Organization, declared that glyphosate, a broad-spectrum herbicide widely used in agriculture due to the presence of genetically engineered crops that are resistant to its effects, is “probably” carcinogenic in humans. This announcement lead to widespread concerns that the chemicals used to improve the health of plants might be poisoning people. The climate of fear generated by the report suggests that creating a chemical management system for the agrochemical industry is especially important for regulatory purposes or to determine when a company can afford to curtail the use of a specific product if its use faces significant public backlash, as has been experienced by Monsanto, the largest producer of glyhosate.

Chemical management systems as a way to monitor the use of agricultural chemicals

Large agricultural companies often maintain multiple facilities and locations throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world. Creating a chemical management system is an an important tool for tracking the arrival of agricultural chemicals and monitoring their progression through a workflow, a process that includes barcode labeling and SDS management.

Also, agricultural chemists can ensure that any excess chemicals are properly disposed of and do not end up in an area where they can compromise the quality of any water or soil. The implementation of such a system would also likely uncover “opportunities for waste minimization and cost reduction” by providing a clear “running script” of the amounts of chemicals used in certain processes.

As the agricultural chemicals industry faces even more regulatory oversight, the innovations described above become more than luxuries. Instead, a chemical management system (like those that already exist in scientific laboratories) becomes an essential component of ensuring that a specific company is in compliance with national and international laws concerning the use of agricultural chemicals.

BIOVIA CISPro is a powerful chemical management system that keeps track of chemicals in a single or multiple locations

BIOVIA CISPro provides all the necessities discussed above. Using this chemical management system, agricultural chemists and managers can obtain a list of the chemicals in a given facility while monitoring their quantity and use in real-time, providing them with the ability to better understand how a chemical is used within an organization, compare this to other companies and industries and thus make important decisions based on that information. BIOVIA CISPro is also web-based and very simple to implement, meaning users no longer need to install software on each computer. Finally, the chemical management system can generate regulatory reports to meet the needs and standards of regulators from throughout the world. To better determine how CISPro can be used to meet your needs, please visit our website.

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