Today the Standing Committee on Pesticides will decide on the proposal of EU health and consumer protection division DG SANCO for new pesticide safety testing (‘data requirements’). The present rules for testing are outdated, do not include new insights in science and fail to protect citizens. DG SANCO, however, has made the tests more flexible and cheaper for industry and does not take account of scientific progress. No tests are required for immunotoxicity or endocrine disruption. There is no standard test even for neurotoxicity and no mention of the need to protect the developing foetus or babies during vulnerable phases. There are no tests on low doses or mixtures of chemicals, in spite of the fact that these reflect real-life human exposures. There is, however, progress on bee testing.
PAN Europe urges member states to reject DG SANCO’s proposal and develop testing requirements which are modern, science-based, and able to effectively discover the harmful effects of pesticides.
SANCO’s proposal has been developed over the last seven years in close cooperation with industry umbrella organisation ECPA (European Crop Protection Association). Other stakeholders were invited into the process only last year, when the text was largely fixed. Many of the industry proposals of ECPA and the industry lobby club ILSI  were accepted. This happened especially in the crucial area of long-term human health tests. The one-year dog study was deleted and industry was allowed to choose a different test species, as in the long-term rat test, or to waive studies like the 2-generation mouse test. In addition, EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) panels, with ILSI-linked scientists on board, issued Opinions and Guidances that contributed to a pro-industry bias in the test proposals.
Hans Muilerman of PAN Europe said, “We are shocked and amazed by these developments. Already, pesticide evaluations are based on unpublished industry-sponsored studies – no one knows how reliable they are. So allowing industry to take even more control is unacceptable. PAN Europe proposes to disallow industry-funded studies in the evaluation of pesticides in the future and to carry out tests in independent laboratories, paid for by industry.”
“DG SANCO has ignored new insights in science in the test requirements – abandoning its mission to protect European citizens and the environment. DG SANCO must go back to the drawing board and come up with a proposal that puts the interests of the public before the interests of industry.”
Hans Muilerman added: “Pesticide evaluation is loosing its science base. A reform of risk evaluation by top-class independent scientists is urgently needed – excluding industry-linked scientists.”
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1. ILSI, the International Life Science Institute, states to have a mission to provide science that improves public health and well-being. Behind this façade hides an industry-sponsored lobby club which works to redesign risk assessment to make it less rigorous and cheaper. ILSI was restricted from activities in the international health organisation WHO because of its track record of putting the interest of its corporate members first.
For further information please contact:
Hans Muilerman, PAN Europe, hans [at] pan-europe.info,Tel: +31 (0)6-55807255