Almost 10% of garden pesticide products have been removed from sale in Britain.
Some garden pesticides will be banned by December
The withdrawal of 81 pesticide products on Thursday brings the UK into line with an EU-wide directive on pesticide regulations, announced in August 2002.
Pesticides are toxic chemicals used to kill or control pests such as insects and weeds in farms, gardens and for public health purposes.
Most of the products being withdrawn are weed killers of one form or another.
They all contain one of 6 active ingredients - 2,3,6-TBA, dichlorprop, dikegulac, resmethrin, tar acids and triforine.
Manufacturers have withdrawn the products rather than put them through health and safety trials to comply with the new regulations.
The products cannot be sold from now on, with 31 December being the cut-off date for householders to use the products.
After that date, the products may be stored for a further three months but only whilst arrangements are made for disposal.
Guidelines from government body the Pesticides Safety Directorate state that it is illegal to dispose of garden chemicals or their wastes in drains, sinks or lavatories.
WITHDRAWN PRODUCTS INCLUDE
B & Q Lawn Feed and Weed
Homebase Nettle Gun
Fisons Ready-to-Use Lawn Weedkiller
Doff Lawn Spot Weeder
In addition, 135 products used in agriculture have been withdrawn from sale.
Their use will also be banned from 31 December and farmers will then have three months to dispose of them.
Householders are being told to hand over any products they have left to their local authority so they can disposed of in a way which does not cause environmental damage.
But this aspect of the product withdrawal has prompted criticism from some environmentalists.
Pesticide Action Network UK warned that local authorities were "ill equipped" to handle disposal.
Research by PAN showed London residents had little idea what to do with the pesticides and local authorities were usually not licensed to dispose of them.
"Even local authorities which have licensed facilities usually fail to advertise them," spokeswoman Roslyn McKendry said.
"The service is expensive and frankly they don't want to encourage its use. Most people if questioned have no idea what to do with banned chemicals."
The BBC's Tim Hirsch says another criticism has been that not enough information has been handed out giving details of suitable alternatives.
"Some gardeners might have a little difficulty replacing what might be their favourite products," he said.
Labour Euro-MP David Bowe welcomed the ban, which he said underlined the potential hazards of many of the chemicals in
"About ten per cent of garden pesticide products sold in the UK have had to
be withdrawn from the shelves.
"That indicates why there is so much concern over the safety of commonly-used
chemicals, and why the European Parliament and the European Commission are
currently considering new testing measures for many thousands of products we all
use in our home, in the garden and at work."
He went on: "Underneath every kitchen sink [are] products such as washing powders, stain removers and detergents containing a whole range of products about which we
currently have very little information.
Mr Bowe added: "Today's move to tackle hazards in the garden is a good start, but we must now work to develop a chemicals policy which strikes the right balance between
the enormous benefits which chemicals can bring to every aspect of our lives and the need to protect public health and the environment."