Farewell present of Health Commissioner Borg: endocrine disrupting pesticide Carbendazim banned

Brussels

PAN Europe welcomes the decision of DG SANCO and its Standing Committee on pesticides last week not to renew the approval of the fungicide Carbendazim. The EU member states must now withdraw national authorizations of this pesticide by December 1, 2014.  Back in 2011, a qualified majority could not be obtained in the Committee to vote for a ban. Germany, UK, Poland and Portugal were among the member states opposing a ban. DG SANCO's  compromise decision in 2011 allowed a period of extension of three years.

Independent literature has shown for many years that Carbendazim can cause adverse effects on the male reproductive systems, including decreased testicular and epididymal weights and reduced epididymal sperm counts and fertility in the rats. Later independent studies showed effects on embryo's at very low dose, as well as genotoxic effects and endocrine disruption [1]. The regulatory dossier prepared by Du Pont and Germany tried to play down these effects but couldn't prevent Carbendazim in the EU CLP-regulation being classified as a known mutagen and reprotoxic agent. This classification generally prevents further market access for a chemical.

Carbendazim is currently authorised for cereals, sugar beet, rape seed and maize in 12 EU member states but the residues are also found in cucumbers, mandarins, oranges, carrots and pears. In several cases they exceed safe levels. Alternatives for Carbendazim such as resistant crop varieties are available as well as other synthetic fungicides.

PAN-Europe is pleased about the ban, despite its delay, and urges Commission to also ban the last member of this group of pesticides, Thiophanate-methyl, a fungicide producing the same chemical Carbendazim as its major metabolite.

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Further information

1. PAN Europe factsheet on Carbendazim

For further information please contact:

Hans Muilerman, Tel: +316 55807255, hans [at] pan-europe.info

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