Pesticide deal could result in bans on important health hazards

Better Health in Sight?


Brussels, 18 December 2008 – Health and environment non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have cautiously welcomed the proposed EU package on pesticides reached yesterday as a step towards better health through environmental protection.

Following years of political negotiations, the debate on the pesticide package entered yesterday a new stage, with a proposed deal between the Commission, French Presidency and a European Parliament delegation reaching agreement on a Regulation and a Framework Directive on the use and authorisation of pesticides.

Overall, PAN (Pesticides Action Network) Europe, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and the European Environment Bureau (EEB) consider that the proposed compromise agreement offers positive aspects, first of all because it means the creation of an EU-wide pesticides blacklist, which removes some of Europe’s most hazardous pesticides from the market – and therefore from food products grown in the EU (1).

We are happy to see that the proposed agreement includes criteria for banning pesticides that can cause cancer, DNA-mutation, reproductive problems and hormonal disruption‘, says Monica Guarinoni, Deputy Director at HEAL. ‚Only 22 substances will be withdrawn from the market, resulting in a much higher level of health protection, especially for children and vulnerable groups, although we would have liked the list to be larger and include developmental neurotoxic and immunotoxic pesticides‘ (2).

The major downside of the deal is that it did not include the Environment committee’s demand to eliminate the division of the EU into three authorisation zones. This omission reduces the control of member states over whether or not to reject a hazardous pesticide within their territory (3).

Regarding the framework directive on sustainable use of pesticides, Member States have to develop National Action Plans with clear targets on how and when to achieve quantitative use reductions.

„Although, we regret the absence of ambitious EU quantified reduction targets and incentives, we welcome the fact that member states will have to prepare national action plans with quantitative use reductions and the idea of applying integrated pest management from 2014“, Hans Muilerman, board member of PAN. „Making Integrated Pest Management (IPM) mandatory for every farmer in Europe presents a unique opportunity to achieve more sustainable agricultural practices,“ he continues.

On the Directive, Monica Guarinoni added „Banning the use of pesticides in public areas, such as parks and school grounds, is another measure that would help protect health. Although the current compromise does not include a total ban on pesticide use in public places, we hope member states and local authorities will pick up these measures in their local and national action plans. Some municipalities in Europe are already banning the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes and our new campaign will encourage others to do so“ (4).

Although far from perfect, with a number of loopholes and derogations and based too much on risk rather than hazard and quantitative reductions, the proposed deal will allow the EU to move on to a better system without further delays. Health and environment groups therefore reluctantly advise the EU institutions to officially confirm the deal in January.

Notes to editors:

1 Other positive measures in the regulation are the introduction of mandatory record-keeping throughout the production chain; an obligation on industry to release all scientific articles showing the negative side-effects of pesticide application; consideration of the cumulative effects on health (though not on environment) within the testing and authorisation process; and better protection of bees.
2 The deal does not include developmental neuro- and immunotoxicity in the cut-off criteria, instead these are only taken into account in the setting of health standards.
3 Other negative aspects are that the assessment of endocrine disrupting is also delayed and the Commission has to come up with scientific criteria for their determination in 5 years, after which testing will take even more time to identify this dangerous group of pesticides; some specific categories though are included already in the cut-off.  Nor does the deal get rid of the so-called non-relevant metabolites, which gives the Member States the possibility to ignore toxic effects of metabolites.
4 The „Sick of Pesticides“ campaign on pesticides and cancer was launched in November 2008. The campaign website is available in French and English at

Henriette Christensen, Pesticide Action Network Europe, Boulevard de Waterloo 34, B – 1000 Brussels, Tel:+32 2 289 13 09, email; website:

Monica Guarinoni, Deputy Director, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), 28 Boulevard Charlemagne, B-1000 Brussels. Tel: +32 2 234 3643 (direct). E-mail: Website:

Christian Schaible, EU Policy Officer for Industrial Policies and Chemicals,  European Environmental Bureau, Boulevard de Waterloo 34 1000 Brussels ,  Tel. +32 (0)2 289 10 90, website :

Ein Kommentar zu “Pesticide deal could result in bans on important health hazards”

  1. Energiefox 19. Dezember 2008 um 12:00

    Leider kann ich Dank unserer schlechten Schulen nur schlecht Englisch. Habe ca. 5 Jahre Englisch gehabt, aber das Schulsystem (2.Bildungsweg) ist ja so schlecht abgestimmt, das mir die Sprache nie vernünftig beigebracht wurde. Leider hat mir der Unterricht in Englisch auch fast nie Spaß gemacht. Jedenfalls jetzt zu Thema gestern noch im Lebensmittelgeschäft sprach ich mit einem Anglerehepaar. Die Frau sagte mir die Gewässer werden immer sauberer. Ich fragte Sie:\“ Sie angeln doch nicht direkt am Ölhafen bei der Erdölraffinerie?\“ Sie sagte,\“ doch.\“
    Ich hatte nämlich da schon Leute angeln gesehen der Dortmund Emskalal
    ist direkt an der Erdölraffinerie hier in Lingen (Ems) Ortsteil Holthausen.
    Wenn da was nicht stimmt und es ist ein Ölteppich, müssten Sie es melden. Sie meinte es wäre da sauber.
    Naja, ich bin ja kein Angler und wenn, da würde ich nie angeln. Jetzt sprachen wir auch über die Flüsse, die Ems bei uns sagte sie werde immer sauberer. Aber dann die Bäche, da käme wirklich braune Soße raus, unsere lieben Bauern die güllen ja gerne (Massenviehhaltung) und Pestizide die kommen ja mächtig zum Einsatz. In meiner Kindheit waren die Bäche hier noch krumm und Fische schwammen auch noch drin und die
    Bäche hatten Selbstreinigungskraft. Heute werden diese Bäche ja regelmäßig mit großen Maschinen energieaufwendig ausgeräumt. Jetzt sind die Bäche ja meistens schnurgerade und tief, man mag da nicht reinschauen. Deshalb das Landleben so schön ist es auch nicht immer. In manchen Städten ist mehr Natur und Artenvielfalt als in den ausgeräumten Flächen der Landwirtschaft, selbst Sträucher an den Ackerrändern
    werden ja hier in Lingen (Ems) von der Stadt mit abgemäht. (Verkehrssicherheit)
    Deshalb weg von den Pestiziden und wieder mehr natürliche Landwirtschaft ohne Massenviehhaltung, es muss nicht jeden Tag Fleisch auf den Tisch. Macht bitte auch die Bäche so gut es geht wieder krumm . Wird ja zum Teil, mit riesigem Echo von der Presse begleitet, gemacht. Früher waren hier alle Bäche krumm und schön anzuschauen .
    Gruß Energiefox

Kommentar abgeben: