DG Sante determined to ban 4 hazardous pesticides, despite Member States’ opposition

Yesterday, EU Member States were asked for the second time to vote on the ban of malathion, diquat, thiram and pymetrozine in an appeal committee. The European Commission was obliged to have this second round of votes as too many Member States were opposing a ban on these highly toxic substances despite the negative opinions provided by the European Food Safety Authority. A second ‘no-opinion’ vote was obtained.

In the Standing Committee on Plant, Animal, Food and Feed meetings from May and June, too many European Member States refused to back the proposals from DG Sante to ban these substances. No qualified majority was obtained. One reason often evoked by Member States is that they consider that the substances are too important for agriculture and they thus prefer to overlook the risks posed to health and the environment. Another argument is that they consider that the risks can be contained by mitigation measures.

DG Sante immediately decided to go to the Appeal Committee and Commissioner Andriukaitis openly blamed Member States in a hearing from the PEST Committee from the European Parliament for impeding the Commission to ban them, thus implementing the law. This second ‘no-opinion’ vote allows the European Commission to ban these substances.

Martin Dermine, PAN Europe’s Health and Environment policy officer said: “We are glad to learn that DG Sante now has the freedom to make these 4 highly toxic substances disappear from the European environment. It is a pity DG Sante needed to have such a fight with Member States who consider that harming the environment is not a problem and keep asking for confirmatory data and more mitigation measures!”.

Angeliki Lysimachou, an ecotoxicologist at PAN Europe added: “Evidence shows that mitigation measures are not an efficient tool to protect the environment. Despite the use of such measures, toxic levels of pesticides are often found in European water streams: evidence is there! DG was right to resist to pressures from Member States and the industry’s lobby”.

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