Health Commissioner Andriukaitis fails to ban the most dangerous endocrine disrupting pesticides, the "Dirty Six"

A large reservoir of pesticides with unacceptable health effects is present at EU Commission health service DG SANTE but Mr. Andriukatis' DG makes no move to ban them. Not one of the six most harmful pesticides (see Table below) is put on the agenda of today's meeting[1] of the Standing Committee. For the pesticide Amitrole, capable of causing malformations of the fetus, the dossiers and the EFSA peer-review are ready since July 1, 2014 and no decision is taken. DG SANTE is more concerned about twisting and bending the rules and applying derogations from a ban such as use in case of "negligible exposure" (Dirty Six in the Table below) or a "serious danger of plant health" (Flumioxazin). PAN Europe urged Mr. Andriukaitis in a letter to act and radically change policy.


Pesticide Use in Europe Danger classification (EFSA)

Most harmful health effects


Herbicide in vineyards and orchards, used in 10 EU MS

R1B ("may damage the unborn child")

Malformations of head and limb of the foetus; thyroid cancer


Herbicide in vineyards and orchards, used in 16 EU MS

R1B (presumed effect on human reproduction) plus toxic for the endocrine organs

Reproductive organ abnormalities, reduction live pups, toxic effects on prostrate, testis, etc.


Herbicide in cereals, used in 12 EU MS

R2 (suspected human reprotoxin) and C2 (suspected human carcinogen )

Liver tumours, foetus: retarded ossification of the skull


Herbicide in cereals, used in 22 EU MS

R2 (suspected human reprotoxin) and C2 (suspected human carcinogen )

Negative (endocrine) effects on reproduction and fertility; liver tumours


Insecticide for fruit and vegetables, used in 25 EU MS

R2 (suspected human reprotoxin, 2x) and C2 (suspected human carcinogen )

Liver and lung tumours;  malformation of offspring


Fungicide, pending, no use yet in EU MS

R2 (suspected human reprotoxin) and C2 (suspected human carcinogen )

Tumours in liver and pancreas; harmful developmental effects

While Health DG SANTE in 2013 managed to delay the publication of the criteria for endocrine disruption and block decision-taking on these chemicals, still part of the rules of pesticide Regulation 1107/2009 count such as "cut-off" criteria for pesticides with a danger classification (like R2) and pesticides that are part of the interim-criteria for endocrine disruption. Now, 6 years after the rules were agreed, DG SANTE didn't do much to prevent the potential harm done by these dangerous pesticides, let alone prevent damage to the environment. All attention is given to rewording of the rules from the legal "hazard approach" back to traditional risk assessment. This happens for instance on the so-called "negligible exposure" (NE) of classified pesticides. While NE is clearly defined in the law ("closed system", "avoiding contact with humans"), DG SANTE prepared a guideline saying that exposure is allowed to a certain level. PAN Europe feels DG SANTE is not living up to its mission, is not respecting the rules and fails to protect EU citizens to very dangerous pesticides.  


Hans Muilerman, Tel: +316 55807255 hans [at]



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Pesticide Action Network Europe (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.