PEST Committee votes in favour of its draft report demanding reform
Members of the European Parliament highlighted today the need to improve the European Pesticide Authorisation system. The effectiveness of Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 to protect human, animal, and environmental health from pesticides requires changes in the whole pesticide approval procedure – from the industry’s application to get a pesticide active substance authorised, to the sale and use of the product containing the substance in EU Member States.
Today, the Special Committee of the European Parliament set up to investigate the European Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides (PEST Committee) voted in favour of its draft report pointing out the shortfalls of the procedure and presenting recommendations.
Following eight months of discussions and parliamentary hearings, PAN Europe welcomed the report, which clearly reveals that the reform of the pesticide risk assessment procedure in Europe is urgent.
The report, voted through by a great majority of members of the PEST Committee (23 out of the 29), addresses major shortfalls in the pesticide authorisation system, such as the involvement of the pesticide industry in the toxicity assessment of a pesticide substance or product, the misuse of the academic scientific literature, the lack of sensitive testing for neurological and other serious diseases, the lack of post-market monitoring data to assess the real impact of pesticides, the data gaps in the dossiers and the abuse of the derogations.
"After almost a year of investigations the PEST Committee has succeeded to deliver a report and highlight the main shortfalls of our pesticide authorisation system, which allows the use of tons of harmful chemicals on our fields, even when scientific evidence from public research shows they are not safe,” said Dr Angeliki Lysimachou, Science Policy Officer at PAN Europe.
“The studies reporting diseases in humans, farm animals, the environment and its ecosystems due to pesticide exposure are just too many to ignore,” added Dr Lysimachou. She continued, “Today the PEST Committee confirmed with its report that our current authorisation system needs a thorough reform to reach the objectives of EU law. Being supported by a great majority of Members of the PEST Committee paves the way to implement the necessary changes in our system."
The report aims to address the concerns expressed from the European Citizens. In 2017, the European Citizens Initiative of more than 1 million citizens called the European Commission to ban glyphosate, reform the current authorisation system and set clear targets for a pesticide free future.
Recently, the European coalition Citizens for Science in Pesticide Regulation, composed of more than 120 European NGOs and institutions, including GMWatch, sent an open letter to EU regulators in Member States to call for a reform the authorisation procedure of pesticides in EU and increase the level of protection. The main message of the coalition is, “The current model of pesticide risk assessment is not working and must be reformed if people and the environment are to be protected from the harm caused by these chemicals."
1. The Committee was set up as a response to the concerns raised by the European Citizens’ Initiative to ban glyphosate, the Monsanto Papers (internal Monsanto documents disclosed in cancer litigation in the USA revealing how industry subverts science) and the discrepancy of the hazard classification assessment between the European institutions and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).