New proposals on pesticide laws in the EU have been put to the vote in the European Parliament. The most dangerous could be banned once a comprehensive EU list is drawn up. Decisions on whether to take a substance off the market altogether would be left up to each member state. Special authorisation might also be needed for aerial spraying.
Certain ingredients in herbicides, insecticides and fungicides have been linked with serious disorders, including cancer and reproductive problems. The environment and productivity in the agricultural and chemical sectors were also discussed as the proposals were drawn up. Parliament’s environment committee has urged that pesticide use be halved within a decade.
Green campaigners warn that some 40 percent of the fruit and vegetables in Europe are at risk of pesticide residue contamination. They cite data showing that 260,000 tonnes of pesticides are used in the EU each year – one-quarter of the world’s consumption, even though the bloc has a mere four percent of the world’s agricultural land.