(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2009) On January 13, 2009, the European Parliament adopted a pesticide regulation, implementing its 2006 proposal, to allow the phase out of hazardous pesticides across the European Union. According to the EU, “The new legislation will increase the protection of human health and the environment, will lead to a better protection of agricultural production and will extend and deepen the single market of plant protection products.”
The EU stated: “The new Regulation confirms the importance that the European Commission gives to a high level of protection of human health and the environment, while at the same time harmonises further the availability of plant protection products. Moreover it intends to favour competition and reduce administrative burden for all stakeholders.”
The text contains provisions on the following main issues: (i) criteria for approval of active substances (ii) inspection and monitoring on production, storage, transport and use of plant protection products (iii) a simplified evaluation and authorization procedure (iv) the role of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) (v) data protection — data sharing (vi) mutual recognition for plant protection products (vi) informing on the use of plant protection products to neighborrs (vi) reduction of tests on vertebrates
The EU’s approach to pesticide regulation moves it rules to a hazard-based, rather than a risk-based, system. The proposal would push farmers and chemical companies to replace the most toxic products with alternatives, remove provisional licenses for pesticides not yet registered with the EU, restrict the use of crop-dusters, and ban pesticides near sensitive areas.“One of the main aims of the proposal is to maintain a high level of protection for humans, animals and the environment. This is essential for our citizens,” said EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, who advocated for this ban in May 2008. “We will not authorize what is known to be harmful for public health.”
For background, see Beyond Pesticides’ Daily News Blog.