Illegal pesticides remain in use in several EU countries


In 2011, EU Member States granted 230 pesticide authorizations for emergency situations. Again France is the top-user of the 120-day derogation with 32 cases. The use of unauthorised pesticides increases risks for human health as well as the environment, while the justification for its use is absent and very questionable. PAN-Europe urges Commissioner Dalli to restrict utilisation to the absolute minimum by forcing Member States to use existing alternatives and make the derogation system fully transparent.  

Article 53 of 1107/2009 permits Member States to apply illegal pesticides for almost a crop season (120 days) for an emergency when no viable alternatives are available. On a follow up of last year’s report, PAN-Europe analysed the use of the so-called “120-day derogation” during 2011. The pesticides granted derogations are partly extensions of authorised products for other crops, partly products totally banned in Europe.

In 2011, highly toxic banned pesticides like dichlorvos and dichloropropene were some of the 127 substances of the 230 granted authorizations. A number slightly lower than in 2010, but still at a very high level compared to previous years. France, Portugal and Greece remain the top granting countries with 32, 30 and 21 derogations each.

PAN-Europe questions the abusive use of this system by Member States without any control from the European Commission. For instance, for the soil fumigant dichloropropene, used in huge quantities, many alternatives are available and its use under this derogation process is unjustified. Moreover, no information is publicly available concerning danger reasons, intended applications, volumes used, not even on measures taken to ensure consumer safety. European agriculture continues to rely heavily on pesticides when non-chemical alternatives are already available. Furthermore, the repeated authorization of illegal substances discourages the use of integrated pest management techniques, which are mandatory practices in the new Common Agriculture Policy set for 2014.

The full report Meet (Chemical) Agriculture: The “120-day derogation” – One year ahead, what happened? is available online here.

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Further information

For further information please contact:

mariajose [at], Pesticide Action Network, tel: +32 25030837

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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.