PAN EuropeNews


Press Release

22th May 2014

Review concludes: Pesticide Chlorpyrifos may exceed safe health levels in grapes

In 2012 Health Commissioner Dalli demanded a review of the insecticide and nerve poison Chlorprifos [1] because of new evidence put forward by academic studies that showed harmful effects caused by the pesticide. Now Food Authority EFSA published its review [2] and concluded that Chlorpyrifos is much more toxic than previously thought and advises Commission to make the health standards more strict. US-EPA already in 2011 decided to change health standards for Chlorpyrifos resulting in a 30x more strict standard than the one of Europe. With the newly proposed health standards table grapes sprayed with Chlorpyrifos will exceed safe acute levels by a factor up to 50! It is now up to Commissioner Borg of DG SANCO to propose a revision of the approval of Chlorpyrifos. PAN Europe asks for a total ban because the extreme toxicity cannot be contained at all. Additionally other information from academic studies on Chlorpyrifos such as clear evidence for genotoxicity and endocrine disrupting should be considered by Commission and would require a ban on its own.

The nerve poisoning effect is only one of the worring effects of Chlorpyrifos. New evidence from the USA  (Rauh [3], [4]) shows brain damage in children exposed to Chlorpyrifos at every-day Chlorpyrifos exposure levels, even far below the newly proposed standards. Other studies show that Chlorpyrifos is capable of changing DNA (mutagenic) and is an endocrine disrupting pesticide.  Chlorpyrifos is also a persistent and bioaccumulative chemical, it is travelling long-range and is shown to be present almost everywhere in the environment, in food and air, even in the  Arctic [5], in ice, snow, fog, air, seawater, lake sediment, fish and vegetation.

PAN Europe urges Mr. Borg to choose for a full ban since it is the only way to prevent further damage done.

— ENDS —

Further information and contacts:

3. Virginia A. Rauh, Frederica P. Perera, Megan K. Horton, Robin M. Whyatt, Ravi Bansal, Xuejun Hao, Jun Liu, Dana Boyd Barr, Theodore A. Slotkin, and Bradley S. Peterson, Brain anomalies in children exposed prenatally to a common organophosphate pesticide, PNAS | May 15, 2012 | vol. 109 | no. 20 | 7871–7876

4. Megan K. Horton, Linda G. Kahn, Frederica Perera, Dana Boyd Barr, Virginia Rauh, Does the home environment and the sex of the child modify the adverse effects of 2 prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos on child working memory?, Neurotoxicology and Teratology xxx (2012) xxx–xxx

5. Chlorpyrifos as a possible global POP, Meriel Watts, PhD, For Pesticide Action Network North America, August 2012

For further information please contact:

Hans Muilerman, Tel: +316 55807255

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