EU: How the agrochemical industry and member states are defeating pesticide regulation

  September 27, 2022

To open the Rachel Carson Action Month against Pesticides (September 27 to October 27, 2022) for the 60th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson‘s book “Silent spring”, our partner Pan Europe has published a report entitled Pesticide paradise, which traces the history of the 278 times failure of the European legislator, since the adoption of the Reach Regulation n°1107/2009 in 2009 to remove “Candidate for Substitution” (CfS) pesticides, because of the agrochemical industry, supported by the member states.

CfS are those substances that are considered to be the most dangerous and that should be substituted as soon as possible by less dangerous alternatives. They are listed as “candidate active substances for substitution”.

In 1962, Rachel Carson alerted us to the dramatic consequences of pesticides on health and the environment and the toxic relationship that had been formed in the United States between civil servants and the agrochemical industry. 60 years later, this toxic relationship between the agrochemical industry and the administration is still prevalent, including in Europe.

The Pesticide paradise report takes stock of a situation that has worsened to the point that an entire European Union regulation has been defeated by the agrochemical industry, with the help of the member states.

Pesticide paradise reveals that both the member states and the European Commission, as well as the officials involved in implementing the regulations, are to blame for the regulatory failure.

First, the Member States and the European Commission have sidestepped the purpose of the regulation by relying on a guidance document drafted by the obscure European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO), without transparency and deeply compromised by industry representatives. This document is like a set of rules established by BASF, Sygenta and DuPont in their own interests. 

Officials are responsible for the second cause of this failure, namely the rejection of perfectly viable non-chemical methods of pest control.

Calling the regulatory failure to remove the most dangerous pesticides a disgrace, PAN Europe proposes to policy makers a multitude of ways to finally remove these pesticides from our environment, including rewriting the guidance document that led to this regulatory failure.  

Let’s remember that the European Commission is committed to an EU-wide policy to reduce pesticide use as part of its from Farm to Fork Strategy and the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, one of whose major objectives is to reduce the use of these CfS by 50% by 2030. It’s time to get started!