Newsletter 22

April - June 2005

1. PAN Europe activities

Advance notice of PAN Europe Annual Conference 2005
In collaboration with Friends of the Earth Poland/Polish Ecological Club we will be holding our Network Annual Conference for members and other supporters Friday 4 and Saturday 5 November 2005 in Krakow, Poland. We expect that the Annual Conference and related events will provide the opportunity to raise the profile of PAN Europe and pesticide use in Poland and other Eastern European countries as well as to address regional pesticide issues.

Public consultation on the EU Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides
The European Commission is currently finalising its proposal to be published in September 2005. PAN Europe called upon its partners to participate in the consultation exercise launched by the EC to avoid it resulting in an even weaker Thematic Strategy proposal. The Thematic Strategy on Pesticides aims to set out an integrated approach on “sustainable use” of pesticides which will address the use phase of pesticides and include the review of Directive 91/414/EEC on plant protection products authorisation.

Before the finalisation of the draft proposal on the use phase of pesticides part, DG Environment launched an online consultation called “The sustainable use of pesticides: Interactive Policy Making (IPM)”. This exercise is intended for stakeholders at large including the general public (individuals) and the deadline for the consultation expired on 12th May. But as the design of the questions and the limited choice of proposed answers did not allow in several instances to reflect different and more nuanced opinions, we invited our partners to complete the online consultation questionnaire using PAN Europe’s proposed answers and to send a complementary letter to the Head of Unit B4 Biotechnology and Pesticides, DG Environment. The purpose was to express our frustration about the limited design of the questions and choice of proposed answers for the consultation exercise and to send additional comments that best expressed our views.

Additional points raised by PAN Europe included: training and awareness raising; compulsory control and standardisation of application equipment; specific measures on aerial spraying (we continue to argue for a phased total ban of aerial spraying without exceptions); areas of strongly reduced or zero pesticide use (vulnerable zones where the use of pesticides has to be restricted or banned); compliance controls; monitoring and reporting; comparative assessment and substitution principle, Integrated Pest Management; taxation (a pesticides tax is essential in our opinion).
More than 17 PAN Europe partners, from 11 different countries, responded to the online consultation questionnaire and sent a complementary letter to DG Environment.

Lobbying against the inclusion of chlorpyrifos on the EU pesticides positive list
The European Commission proposed the inclusion of chlorpyrifos in Annex I to Council Directive 91/414/EEC in the meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Safety, held 2-3 June, despite strong evidence of harmful effects to the environment and human health, especially to children and the unborn.
We called upon our partners to lobby their national representatives in the Standing Committee in order to prevent the inclusion of this hazardous insecticide in the EU pesticides positive list.
We asked our partners to contact their national representative before the meeting with a letter and a fact sheet prepared by PAN Europe and to send a copy to the Head of the Food Safety Directorate from DG Health and Consumer Protection.
The agenda and summary report of the meeting can be found at the Europa website
More than 13 PAN Europe partners, from 10 different countries, responded to this call for action translating documents and contacting their national representatives. Unfortunately, a majority of countries voted for the inclusion of chlorpyrifos, setting off the EU in the opposite direction of other countries like the USA that has introduced severe restrictions on the use of this substance.

Public consultation on the revision of Directive 91/414/CEE regarding the placing of PPP on the market
The European Commission launched in March another Interactive Policy Making consultation entitled "The future of pesticides in Europe" with a deadline for responses by May. Although in favour of consultations, PAN Europe believes that the format of this consultation was inadequate. Most questions were to be answered by multiple choice, which does not do justice to the intensive input we wished to provide and poses the question which audience DG SANCO tries to reach and how the outcome of this consultation will be assessed. The questions in the consultation were very one-sided, covering only an industry agenda, and almost excluded serious input from environmental stakeholders. The Commission, selecting just the very two items (data protection and geographical zones for authorisation) industry is interested in for a public consultation, gave a misleading idea of the discussions around 91/414 revision and tended to address only one specific stakeholder.

PAN Europe chose not to participate in this consultation but was pleased to receive the draft Directive for detailed consultation. Despite the very short time available for comments, which does not do justice to the interest and dedication we have shown during the entire revision process, PAN Europe made concrete proposals for alteration of the draft proposal and sent a summary to DG SANCO.

Pesticides and congenital diseases
Catherine Wattiez, PAN Europe Pesticides Use Reduction in Europe (PURE) campaigner, participated in the workshop entitled "Environmental impacts on congenital disease", held on 9-11 June on Kos Island, Greece. The workshop was organised by the AREHNA project, lead by several independent academic physicians/toxicologists/cellular biologists from various EU countries and coordinated by Prof. Nicolopoulou - Stamati of the University of Athens. AREHNA means "Awareness Raising about Environment and Health of Non expert Advisors". The AREHNA project is the continuation of the ASPIS (Awareness Strategies for Pollution from Industries) cluster of projects, and is financed by DG SANCO of the European Commission. It aims to stimulate multidisciplinary dialogue, to communicate new toxicology findings to various key non-expert players and, as a consequence, contribute to adapt the current legislation in order to guarantee a high level of heath protection.

Pesticides impacts on congenital diseases were highlighted in several presentations to be found at http://www.arehna.di.uoa.gr. The presentations are the basis for a book to be published in 2006 by Springer Verlag publishers, containing a foreword by Frédérique Ries, Belgian Member of the European Parliament and rapporteur of the February 2005 own initiative European Parliament Resolution criticizing the European Environment and Health Action Plan and, among others, the lack of immediate action regarding pesticides.

EU pesticide policy in the Mediterranean Social Forum
The Mediterranean Social Forum took place from 16-19 June in Barcelona, Spain and was organised around 7 topics (Democracy, citizenship and human rights; Conflicts, military occupations, militarism and peace; Economic, social-cultural rights, development models, work and conflicts; Migrations; Cultural diversity and transcultural dialogues; Development model and environmental sustainability; Women and the Mediterranean). Amics de la Terra Barcelona (PAN Europe network member) were involved in the organisation and prepared several seminars, part of the Campaign against Chemical Contamination. The seminar “Debate and Analysis of the Future Thematic Strategy for a Sustainable Use of Pesticides” had the participation of Sofia Parente, PAN Europe coordinator who addressed the importance of NGO work in the final adoption and subsequent national implementation of the Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides in the months ahead.
The event also enabled PAN Europe to strengthen the growing network of Spanish organisations working in pesticide issues. Amics de la Terra Barcelona are co-organising, together with the Spanish Government, a national seminar directed to the Regional Authorities on the implementation of the EU Thematic Strategy later this year, an event that will count with the support and participation of PAN Europe.
For more information go the Mediterranean Social Forum website http://www.fsmed.info

2. Published news and information

Withdrawal of active ingredients in EU review
The EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) has voted for the withdrawal of the organophosphate insecticide, naled, in the EU. This substance gets PAN North America "Bad Actor" status for being a potential cholinesterase inhibitor and developmental or reproductive toxin. It also comprises moderate acute toxicity.
The EU is also to withdraw approvals for four fungicide/bactericide active ingredients, cresylic acid, dichlorophen ("Bad Actor" status for being a developmental or reproductive toxin and possibly carcinogen), kasugamycin and polyoxin, and one herbicide, imazamethabenz, due to insufficient data submitted. Current registrations are to be withdrawn by September 2005, with a one-year period for the sale and use of remaining stocks. However, certain essential uses may continue for an extended period. In some countries, Member State evaluations have indicated that there are no alternatives for certain uses of these active ingredients. Approval for these “essential” uses will be extended until June 2007, with a use period up to December 2007, provided that these products are relabelled for the restricted uses, and alternatives to these active ingredients are sought.
AGROW No 472, 2005, p8 and AGROW No 471, 2005, p10; PAN North America pesticides database http://www.pesticideinfo.org/

Approval of active ingredients in EU review
The SCFCAH also agreed on the inclusion of 7 existing active substances: the phenoxy herbicides, MCPA (“Bad Actor “ status for being acute toxic and possibly carcinogen), and MCPB; the insecticides chlorpyrifos (“Bad Actor “ status for being a cholinesterase inhibitor and suspected endocrine disrupter) and chlorpyrifos-methyl (“Bad Actor “ status for being a cholinesterase inhibitor); and the fungicides mancozeb (“Bad Actor “ status for being a developmental or reproductive toxin, carcinogen and a suspected endocrine disruptor), maneb (“Bad Actor “ status for being a developmental or reproductive toxin, carcinogen and a suspected endocrine disruptor) and metiram (“Bad Actor “ status for being a developmental or reproductive toxin, carcinogen, suspected endocrine disruptor and potential groundwater contaminant).
Two new active substances were added to Annex 1: the acaricide bifenazate and the acaricide/insecticide milbemectin.
AGROW No 472, 2005, p8 and AGROW No 471, 2005, p10
PAN North America pesticides database: http://www.pesticideinfo.org
http://www.pesticides.gov.uk/approvals.asp?id=692

Italy suspends five active ingredients
The sale of products containing five agrochemical active ingredients has been suspended in Italy pending the completion of their reviews for Annex I inclusion under the EU Directive 91/414. Registrations were suspended for suspected carcinogenity or toxicity risks to humans or animals for: BASF’s fungicide flusilazole; Dow AgroSciences’ fungicide/acaricide dinocap; and the rodenticide warfarin. Companies have 90 days from the day after the decrees’ publication dates (14th-17th of March) to withdraw products containing these active ingredients from the market. Italy’s temporary registration suspensions will be reviewed depending on, and following, the inclusion in Annex I of the Directive. The outcomes of the active ingredients reviews are expected before the end of 2005. Sale of the products will continue in other countries.
AGROW No 469, April 8th 2005, p14

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) from exposure to pesticides
A team of researchers from the Clinical Hospital of Barcelona (University of Barcelona) studied a consecutive series of 26 patients that developed CFS from exposure to organophosphate insecticides, associated with MCS in one third of the cases. The exposure happened in the work place, after fumigation took place. In 42% of the cases there was no compliance with safety rules, particularly regarding the period between fumigation and reoccupation of the place. Most patients were middle-aged women. The duration of the symptoms varied between less than 1year (19% of the cases) to more than 1 year (58% of the cases), and in 23% of cases, the patients’ exposure resulted in permanent incapacity.

The study concludes about the importance of improving isolation and ventilation of areas treated with pesticides in order to avoid such hazards. None of the patients presented symptoms of acute intoxication by organophosphate pesticides, which suggests that exposure to low doses of these insecticides is sufficient to start CFS-MCS.
Solà, Padierna, Xarau y Mas, Síndrome de fatiga crónica e hipersensibilidade química múltiple tras exposición a insecticidas, Med Clini (Barc). 2005, 124 (12), pp 451-453

Pesticide residues in more than one third of fruits and vegetables
Only 60% of every fruit or vegetable consumed by European citizens is free from pesticide residues; 36% have residue levels below the permitted maximum residue level (MRL) and 4% are contaminated by residues above the MRL. The use of extremely hazardous substances has been progressively banned in agriculture and the positive results are now on sight. A study carried out in Barcelona reveals that organochlorine pesticides, the most persistent, seem to have disappeared completely from some foodstuffs like fruits. This is the good news, the bad news is that the same study, carried out by the Agency for Public Health of Barcelona and recently published by Gaceta Sanitaria, continues to detect organochlorine pesticides in other type of products such as vegetables and milk.

Another type of pesticide, less persistent but equally toxic, the organophosphates, continue to appear in 14.8% of the products, varying from 37.5% in citrus fruits to 3.2% in nuts. The question underlying these results is how continued exposure to low levels of pesticides is affecting human health. A recent study from Instituto Sindical de Trabajo, Ambiente y Salud (ISTAS) concludes that many agriculture products contain residues from pesticide use. In most cases the residue levels are below the legal threshold but when endocrine disruptors, persistent and bioaccumulative substances are concerned these legal thresholds do not guarantee the protection of public health.
Restos de plaguicidas en más de un tercio de las frutas y verduras, El País, 11 de Febrero 2005, por David Segarra

Four additional chemicals banned in the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention
The European Union (EU) pressed for international action to phase out further Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which cause long-term damage to people and the environment. The EU is also encouraging the active participation of environment Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and industry in the first global, legally binding agreement to protect human health, wildlife and the environment from the toxic effects of chemicals.The first Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on POPs took place in Uruguay from 2-6 May with over 800 officials. The convention has now been ratified by 98 of the 151 countries that signed it. The United States and Russia are among those nations yet to ratify the accord. In the EU, 7 countries are yet to ratify the accord (Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta and Poland).
The European Union met NGOs early in the Conference to ensure that NGO views were taken into account in decisions made by the Parties to the Convention.The main concerns expressed by environment and health NGOs are connected with a perceived lack of ambition in terms of the practical technical implementation of the Convention objectives, such as the dioxin toolkit (to assist countries in estimating dioxin emissions), disposal of waste containing POPs and guidelines on Best Available Technology and Best Environmental Practice (BAT / BEP) to minimise releases of unintentionally-produced dioxins and furans. (Dioxins and furans are by-products from some industrial and combustion processes.)

Countries agreed to consider adding four new chemicals to the "dirty dozen" list of banned pesticides and industrial chemicals, but exemptions for some toxins such as DDT were maintained for insect disease vector control despite their harmful effects. While DDT is banned for use on crops, about 20 countries spray some 7,500 tonnes of the chemical every year in their homes to kill mosquitoes. Malaria kills 1 million people a year. The U.N. estimates termites cause $30 billion a year in damage by chomping through wooden buildings, bridges and crops.
05 May 2005, http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2005/050505a.htm
07 May 2005, http://www.reuters.co.uk

World Health Organisation tool assesses risk of unsafe chemicals in food
The World Health Organisation (WHO) promotes a tool called total diet studies (TDS) to measure consumer exposure to a range of chemical contaminants, from acrylamide to mercury. The TDS consists of buying common consumer retail foods, processing them as for consumption, often combining the foods into food composites or aggregates, homogenising them, and analysing the compound for toxic chemicals and certain nutrients. The studies are designed to measure the average amount of each chemical ingested by different age/sex groups living in a country. Once the data collection is complete, scientists assess whether or not specific chemicals pose a risk to health.
Total diet studies can be used as a priority-setting tool to enable risk managers to focus their limited resources on those chemicals, both contaminants and nutrients, that pose the greatest risks to public health, adds the UN-backed group. The cost of conducting a baseline total diet study is estimated at about $125 000 (€101,000), if a country already has basic information on food consumption.
Examples of priority contaminants for TDS are: pesticides (such as aldrin/dieldrin, DDT (complex) and dithiocarbamates), heavy metals (cadmium, lead mercury), industrial chemicals (polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins), mycotoxins (aflatoxins, patulin and ochratoxin A), finally the by-product of cooking process, acrylamide.
01 June 2005, http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/

Higher risk of Parkinson's disease from gardening
Gardeners should wear protective clothing when using pesticides to guard against getting Parkinson's disease in later life, a leading scientist warns. Professor Anthony Seaton and researchers at Aberdeen University, Scotland, found gardeners who used weed-killers and other chemicals have an increased risk of developing the incurable, severely debilitating brain disease. They studied nearly 3,000 people in five European countries, including Scotland, and found that gardeners had a 9%greater risk of contracting Parkinson's than people who had not come into contact with pesticides. Farmers were 43% more likely to contract the disease. Those with a family history of Parkinson's were 350% more likely to get it, and being knocked out was another significant risk factor.
"This is primarily a dose-related thing," Prof Seaton said. "If you have to use pesticides, you should do your best to reduce the dose by not using them. And if you do use them, use them for the minimum amount of time and wear protective clothing to stop it getting into your lungs or on to your skin."
The researchers interviewed 767 Parkinson's sufferers and 1,989 healthy people about risk factors for the disease.
26 May 2005 http://www.scotsman.com

New law on dangerous chemicals approved in Switzerland
The Swiss government has approved a new law to come into force on August 1st to better protect consumers and the environment from dangerous chemicals. Conforming to European Union norms, the legislation should also boost trade for Switzerland's chemical industry as it brings Swiss regulations into line with EU norms. For example, permitted levels for certain heavy metals will be introduced and bans placed on chemicals such as nonylphenol ethoxylates used in a number of household and commercial cleaning products which can leak into water supplies. Switzerland will also match EU regulations on new chemicals and pesticides. Swiss legislation is not being watered down in cases where it is tougher than in the EU, such as the ban on phosphates in household detergents and the amount of cadmium contained in fertilisers.
20 May 2005 http://www.nzz.ch

EU Maximum Residue Levels survey finalized
The coordinated monitoring survey of pesticide residues in food for 2005 will cover 55 active ingredients in peas, beans, potatoes, carrots, mandarins, spinach, rice and cucumber. A total of 613 samples of each food product will be analyzed, divided between Member States. At least 10 samples should be of baby food by each Member State and samples of organic food are analyzed in proportion to organic production in the EU economy. Test results for MRLs should be reported back to the European Commission by 31st August 2006. This time the European Food Safety Agency will take on collating information provided by Member States and produce full information regarding MRLs.
Agrow No. 468, 2005, p9

Studies on accumulation of organochlorine pesticides and degradation products in plant samples of an industrial area in Galicia, NW Spain
The most abundant pesticides in all the samples were HCHs isomers. Some other pesticides such as p,p’-D.D.T, p,p’-D.D.D and p,p’-D.D.E were present in lower quantities. In this study Cystisus striatus was the highest accumulator of HCHs (62.mg/kg) while Chenopodium vulgare was the lowest accumulator (1.7mg/kg). Even though these plants are not for human consumption, the MRLs are much higher than limits set for agricultural crops in Europe, which are as low as 0.1mg/kg for g-HCH and 0.02mg/kg for the sum of a,bandd depending on the sample, suggesting these plants, especially Cystisus striatus, could be used for phytoremediation purposes, i.e. for removing toxic residues from soils.
Periera, M.B et al. (2005), Organochlorine pesticides accumulation and degradation products in vegetation samples of a contaminated area in Galicia (NW Spain), Chemosphere 58 (2005), pp 1571-1578

Monitoring of pesticides using honeybees as bioindicators in the province of Bologna, Italy
35 organophosphates and 5 carbamates were detected in samples of honeybees from 14 beehive monitoring stations in the province of Bologna. The results indicated that malathion was the most frequently occurring pesticide, found in 58% samples (mean 0.36mg/kg) followed by fenithrothion in 53% samples (mean 0.54mg/kg), and pirimiphos methyl in 48% of samples (mean 0.006mg/kg). Although the presence of carbamates was lower than those of organophosphates, fenoxicarb, a banned carbamate in Italy, was found in sixteen samples. These results suggest the need to control the applications periodically and use pesticides properly choosing the products that do not threaten environment.
Ghini et al 2004, Occurrence and distribution of pesticides in the province of Bologna, Italy, using honeybees as bioindicators, Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 47, pp479-488

Organochlorine pesticides in urban environment in east of France
Analysis of air samples collected from Strasbourg, a big city in eastern France in 2001 and 2003 detected a-HCH and g-HCH in all the samples (between 0.05 and 4ng per m3and between 0.01 and 1ng per m3 , respectively) along with aldrin and dieldrin in lower concentrations (0.01 to 0.08 and 0.02- 0.09ng per m3 respectively). The differences in air temperature caused an increase in concentrations of g-HCH due to volatilization.
Scheyer et al 2005, Analysis of some organochlorine pesticides in an urban atmosphere Strasbourg, east of France, Chemosphere 58, pp1517-1524

Intentional Endosulfan poisoning with Cerebral Edema and Cardiac Failure in Germany
Two intentional endosulfan ingestion cases were reported in Germany, one consuming 180g and another 12.3g of endosulfan. Both these cases developed life-threatening signs such as epileptic state, respiratory insufficiency and blood circulation instability soon after ingestion. The survivor developed severe myocardial insufficiency and pulmonary edema documented by echocardiography and x-ray of the chest. The deceased patient developed severe cerebral edema and multiorgan failure ten days after ingestion of endosulfan. The peak serum concentration of endosulfan in the survivor was 0.12mg/l approximately 23 hours after ingestion, whereas the peak blood concentration in the fatal case was 0.86mg/l approximately 25 hours post-ingestion.
Acute Endosulfan Poisoning with Cerebral Edema and Cardiac Failure, Eyer at al 2004, Journal of Toxicology, Clinical Toxicology, Vol. 42(6), pp 927-932

Organochlorines alter menstrual cycles?
Dietary exposure to persistent organochlorine compounds (POCs) has been found to affect the menstrual cycle of both animals and humans. In Sweden the major exposure route for persistent organochlorine compounds (POCs) is the consumption of fatty fish from the Baltic Sea. Questionnaires were sent to women who eat large amounts of sea fish and also to a socio-economically similar cohort of controls, and information was collected on their menstrual cycles. A cohort comparison found that the exposed women on average had 0.46 days shorter menstrual cycles than controls.
Altered menstrual cycles in women with a high dietary intake of persistent organochlorine compounds, Axmon et al 2004, Chemosphere 56 (2004), pp 813-819

Operator exposure to amenity herbicide application
In response to the UK Government’s request on its opinion on the risks to the public from the use of herbicides on amenities, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted research to assess the potential inhalation and dermal exposure of operators to herbicides and collect information on the patterns of use and the application equipment. The potential dermal exposure to spray fluid ranged between 0.7 and 6.8 ml/h of spray fluid. Exposure to hands, as collected on cotton gloves, ranged between 0.6 and 13.6 ml/h. Potential exposure to spray fluid by inhalation was found in 85% of the samples, range 7-37 mg/m3.
Operator exposure when applying amenity herbicides by all-terrain vehicles and controlled droplet applicators, Johnson et al 2005, Annals of Occupational Hygiene, Vol.49, No1, pp25-32

Spain struggles with methyl bromide
The widespread use of alternatives to the ozone-depleting fumigant, methyl bromide, is still a long way off in Spain, according to researchers at the Valencian Institute for Agricultural Research. Although the Institute has developed some good chemical and non-chemical alternatives to methyl bromide, few growers are familiar with or accept the techniques so far. The Institute has been working to develop alternatives since 1997, both chemical and non-chemical. Non-chemical alternatives experimented included solarisation techniques by adding matter, such as manure, urban soil residues, and brassica crops to the soil.
AGROW No 471, May 6th 2005, p15

3. News from PAN Europe partners

Update on the campaign and Court case against the Union of Plant Protection Industries, France
In response to the advertising campaign initiated by the Union of Plant Protection Industries (UIPP in French) in several French magazines (Telerama, Elle, Marie Claire…), the MDRGF launched a Cyberaction in February 2005 supported by 5000 citizens. The pressure from the civil society was a victory because one of the magazines (Telerama) stopped publishing the misleading ads. Moreover, MDRGF noted that the information concerning organic food had been deleted from the website promoting this advertising campaign (http://www.protectiondesrecoltes.fr). MDRGF, together with Eau et Rivieres de Bretagne, Euronat, Le moulin de Marion and the National Trade Union of Beekeepers, supported by an anti-UIPP campaign umbrella network (Objectifbio 2007, ACAP, etc.) had a Court order issued against the UIPP and the magazines to obtain the suspension of the advertisements and a right of answer to be published in these magazines. This procedure was examined in the court of justice of Rennes on the 9th of March. The judge gave his judgment on the 16th of March and unfortunately MDRGF and other parties were dismissed because the judge didn’t recognize the urgency of the situation and declared his non-ability to judge this affair.

The MDRGF and EURONAT plc then decided to appeal against this decision. The appeal was judged on the 24th of May. MDRGF noted that the ads published in the magazines had then been changed. The sentence under the photo of the young people before the NGO action read: “We don’t know it, yet pesticides contribute to produce safe food… pesticides are produced to protect the crops…. In respect of human health and the environment” had been transformed into “ …pesticides, used under strictly controlled conditions, contribute to produce safe food…” These changes show that the industry feels that its initial campaign was deceitful. The good defence of MDRGF’s lawyers, Mr Mathonnet and Le Mazou gave prominence to the incoherence of the industry campaign and the fact that this ad is misleading. The appeal decision will be given on the 5th of July. The UIPP campaign will be over then but NGOs hope to obtain a right of answer.

Do note that this campaign is in line with the campaign launched all over Europe by the ECPA (European Crop Protection Association (see http://www.ecpa.be/commonground), in an equally misleading campaign targeting European decision makers and the general public.
For more info contact: François Veillerette, President of MDRGF or Nadine Lauverjat, Chargee de mission. Websites: http://www.mdrgf.org and http://www.collectif-acap.fr

The 8th International HCH and Pesticide Forum
The Forum took place in Sofia, Bulgaria from 26-28 May. The host organizations were: the International HCH & Pesticides Association (IHPA), The Netherlands; the Ministry of Environment and Water of Bulgaria and National Centre for Agricultural Science, Bulgaria; Institute for Sustainable Development, Bulgaria (PAN Europe partner); and the Federal Environment Agency of Germany (UBA).

The theme of this Conference was practices of Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) for cleaning-up obsolete stockpiles of pesticides in Central European and EECC Countries. The forum discussed national and regional strategies, actions plans and financial resources for elimination of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and obsolete pesticides. This included exchange of technologies and experiences for inventory, risk assessment, environmentally sound management, storage and destruction of obsolete pesticides and contaminated soils. Many representatives of Ministries, NGO's and Institutes gave presentations at the forum.
In the countries of Central Europe and EECCA, where the Sofia conference focussed , many thousands of tonnes of obsolete pesticides and other hazardous chemicals are stored in completely inappropriate premises or just dumped or buried. Many of these obsolete pesticides are POPs – Persistent Organic Pollutants. In the Ukraine it is estimated that in 2005 there are 20,000 tons of prohibited and obsolete pesticides; with over 2,000 tons of these POPs. In Georgia the POPs inventory identified 206 sites with 160 tons POPs found mostly in unprotected buildings. In Uzbekistan there are 1,500 tons of obsolete pesticides identified, but 17,718 tons of banned and obsolete pesticides have been kept in 13 underground storages since 1972.
Efforts on elimination of obsolete pesticide stockpiles and steps to find solutions have been taken. The Stockholm convention includes strategies and measures regarding the elimination of POPs. The FAO has guidelines on how to handle obsolete stockpiles, see
FAO website.
The Sofia conference made clear that these are good instruments for the countries concerned, but that there is a lack of implementation. This is mainly caused by lack of local, national and international awareness and commitment. In particular, not enough financial support is available.
For more information and downloads: http://www.hchforum.com/index.php

Child health and pollution discussed in Central Asia
The scientific conference on "Children and environment health in Central Asia" was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, 25-28 April, having as Chairman of the Organising Committee David Carpenter, Albany University, USA. Several IPEN members participated including: Mahmood Khwaja (SDPI, Pakistan), Makalinao Irma, (Philippines), Manvelyan Elena (Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment); and Jamilja Aitmatova, Adylbek Akmatov, Musofar Isobaev, Igor Hadjamberdiev, Shairbek Sulaimanov from Tadjikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Several studies on the Aral Sea region (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan) and POPs were reported. The "Central Asian Association on Child Health and Environment" was established on the last day of the conference, having as Vice-Chairman M. Isobaev (PAN Central Asia board-member).

This PAN Europe Newsletter was compiled by Stephanie Williamson, Sofia Parente and Mangaprabha Waggott.
Contributions are welcome from PAN Europe network members, PURE supporters and individuals.

© PAN Europe, Rue de la Pacification 67, 1000, Brussels, Belgium, Tel. +32 2 318 62 55,

PAN Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the European Union, European Commission, DG Environment, Life+ programme. Sole responsibility for this publication lies with the authors and the funders are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.