EU agrees deal on pesticides bill

18 December 2008 14:34  [Source: ICIS news]

PARIS (ICIS News)--A raft of pesticides commonly used by farmers in the EU could be banned after European Parliament negotiators agreed a compromise deal on the pesticides bill with EU ministers on Wednesday night.


The agreement proposes creating an EU list of approved "active substances" which would be used to approve pesticides at a national level.


Certain highly toxic chemicals, those which are genotoxic, carcinogenic or toxic to reproduction, would be banned unless their effect would in practice be negligible.


Developmental neurotoxic, immunotoxic and certain endocrine-disrupting substances would also be banned if they are deemed to pose a significant health risk. 


If a substance is needed to combat a serious danger to plant health, it may be approved for up to five years even if it does not meet the agreed safety criteria.  


Products containing certain hazardous substances, so-called "candidates for substitution", would be replaced if safer alternatives are shown to exist. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) successfully demanded a shorter deadline for their replacement – three years rather than five.


After pressure from MEPs, member states would be allowed to ban a product because of specific environmental or agricultural concerns.


The Parliament denied the new legislation would have the huge effect on agriculture feared by many farmers.


“Pesticides which can be placed on the market under current legislation will remain available until their existing authorisation expires,” said the Parliament. “There will thus be no sudden large-scale withdrawal of products from the market.”


The full Parliament will vote on the bill in January, and it must then be formally endorsed by the full council of ministers before it becomes law.


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By: Philippa Jones
+44 20 8652 3214

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