MEPs demand fast-track approval of low-risk pesticides

EPA / PATRICK PLEUL

(FILES) A file picture dated 14 October 2008 shows a farmer spraying pesticides on his field in Germany.

MEPs demand fast-track approval of low-risk pesticides


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There are quite a few low-risk pesticides made from bio-organisms, pheromones, or essential oils, and they could easily replace ordinary ones that are thought to be harmful towards the environment and our human health. Yet some member states still hesitate or outright refuse to approve them, and MEPs want the EU Commission to suggest a revision of current rules in order to accelerate the approval process.

Today a resolution was voted on, in which MEPs stated that the use of ordinary plant protection products is “increasingly subject to public debate, due to the potential risks that they pose for human health, animals and the environment”. MEPs have pointed out very clearly that residue of pesticides are to be found in soil, water, and certain agricultural products. A practicable alternative, many have suggested, are low-risk plant protection products, which can also contribute to a more sustainable agriculture, especially when it comes to products of biological origin.

Still, only a mere seven substances that are classified as being “low-risk” have actually been approved for use within the European Union. Some EU member states have even directly refused to authorize these alternatives that pose a lower risk. Their reasoning for this is that the alternatives are less efficient. What they do not take into account is that the low-risk products have more resource efficiency benefits for organic farming, of which the end products are more in demand than ever, and that the conventional substances have higher environmental and health costs.

MEPs are calling on the European Commission to come up with draft legislation by the end of 2018 the latest. The aim of this is to “fast-track the evaluation, authorisation, and registration of low-risk pesticides.”

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