Up to three-quarters of existing pesticides, and 90% of insecticides, could be removed from sale if the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee amendments to EU rules governing pesticides approvals are adopted, Euros Jones of the European Crop Protection Association warned delegates as the British Crop Production Council’s International Plant Protection Congress in Glasgow.
Even if the original European Commission proposals were adopted up to a third of pesticides could be at risk, as well as making it more difficult for new compounds to be approved, he said.
The proposals were likely to discourage innovation within the crop production sector, while the removal of products from sale could encourage resistance development to other pesticides through over-reliance, he said.
Top of his concerns was the introduction of rejection criteria for products. Currently products undergo a full risk assessment, which evaluates all the properties of the product, including the potential for exposure under actual use conditions.
But the introduction of hazard criteria would mean any product that met those criteria would automatically be discounted. Hazard criteria proposed included substances considered to be persistent organic polluters (POPs) or substances classified as being carcinogens, mutagens, or toxic to reproduction.
Introduction of such criteria could lead to the exclusion of many products unnecessarily, according to Mr Jones. “While an active substance may have certain undesirable properties, this does not mean that such properties will be reflected in the final product when used properly.”
Just how many products would be lost was a matter of some debate. While Mr Jones gave doomsday figures of up to 75% for the Environment Committee amendments, which set tougher criteria, and 30% for the original Commission proposals, the Commission itself suggests less than 10% of existing products would be affected.
MEPs vote on the revision of the Directive next Tuesday [23 October].
Other stories from BCPC in Glasgow:
First results from wheat triazole fungicide resistance project due by end of yearInsecticide resistant pollen beetles spreading to UK oilseed rape