EU announces ban on two commonly used pesticides

As the debate over pesticides continues, representatives in the EU Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCOPAFF) have announced that, as of last week, two controversial pesticides, chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl, will be banned in the EU.

These two pesticides are in a category known as “organophosphates”, and have come under scrutiny in recent years over the risk of developmental problems in children. They have been commonly used in the EU, which is something that’s been highlighted as a concern.

In statements from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), draft regulations from the Commission say they are proposing not to renew the approval of these two products. It’s expected this will come into effect in January 2020.

The statements add that the two pesticides are strongly associated with the risk of genotoxicity and developmental neurotoxicity, and that they couldn’t find a safety limit. Therefore, chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl don’t “meet the human health criteria for renewal on the European market”.

The industry rejects the claims that these chemicals could have serious effects on children. However, a majority has been reached which means that, once the regulations have been officially adopted, all EU countries must withdraw their approval for products containing these substances.

Génon Jensen, executive director of the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), said the ban is a “major win for the healthy development of today’s children and future generations”.

She added that the Commission can now “make sure this doesn’t continue to happen with other substances by committing to decreasing Europe’s dependence on pesticides and addressing remaining loopholes in evaluation processes.”

A Commission spokesperson noted that there will be a three month grace period given to EU countries for the storage or disposal of products containing these chemicals. After this time, they can no longer be sold or used in the EU.

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