Study shows: impact of endocrine criteria low for agriculture but very positive for the health of EU citizens

PAN Europe carried out an impact assessment of the proposed criteria for endocrine disrupting pesticides (EDCs) in a report published just ahead of the meeting of the College of EU Commissioners on the criteria on Wednesday. PAN Europe collected all scientific information on the endocrine properties of pesticides together with the information from industry dossiers. If the specific criteria given in the likely options (2/3) of SANTE's "Roadmap" [1] are chosen by the College, only 7 pesticides will be banned, even less if they qualify for SANTE's spacious crafted derogations [2].

Fifty pesticides turned out to have endocrine disrupting properties in PAN's detailed study. To qualify for a ban, information on the adverse effects needs to be available but since no endocrine disrupting safety tests are obligatory up to now, information fails in many cases and the number of 'to-be-banned' EDCs reduces to 31. Since EU Commission doesn't take academic research into account in their regulatory decisions (generally not reliable according to Commission), the number falls to 20 (report, page 25).

The new criteria will thus be applied on these 20 pesticides. Considering the likely options (2/3) for criteria proposed in DG SANTE's 2014 "Roadmap" by applying two criteria ( "human relevance" + "secondary effect") the number is further reduced to 7 EDCs that have to be banned (report, page 26).  Much less than the dozens of bans claimed by commercial pressure groups (report, page 42).

For instance for the pesticide Tebuconazole the thyroid cancers seen in rats are assumed not to be relevant for humans (report, page 22); for the pesticide Prochloraz toxic effects on the embryo were speculated by SANTE to be irrelevant because the mother showed some toxic effects (report, page 20).

The pesticides that likely will be banned (if no derogations apply) are Mancozeb, Maneb, Metconazole, Propyzamide, Thiophanate-methyl, and Tralkoxydim. Amitrole is the first EDC  that was recently banned [3].

DG SANTE even proposed to completely change pesticide Regulation 1107/2009 in some options (B/C) for instance by going back to traditional risk assessment (and assume safe thresholds); this would effectively reduce the number of banned pesticides to zero, (see PAN-report, page 27).

PAN Europe concludes that the impact of the criteria on agricultural yield is low; sufficient alternatives, including non-chemical ones, are available as demonstrated for a sample of pesticides taken from pesticides with endocrine disruption properties (report, page 30/31). The gains for citizens in terms of reduced health costs are not easily calculated but are likely very big (report, page 48/49).

PAN Europe feels that there is an urgent need to test all pesticides for their endocrine adverse effects and calls on the Commission to require (independent) studies to be performed without delay.






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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.