Report “Banned pesticides are still in use in the EU” shows that many of these toxic substances were still in widespread use in recent years. This is done using an emergency loophole in the law.
We analyzed the emergency permits for 24 pesticide active substances from 2019–2022. These pesticides have either been proven to be highly toxic to human health and the environment, or they promote the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, which is why they are banned in the EU.
|GRaph 1: The number of exemptions granted in the years 2019–2022 for the 24 active substances in our review|
Of the 24 investigated banned pesticides, 236 emergency permits were granted for 14 substances in the years 2019–2022. Austria is the “champion” of exceptions in our review, Finland, Denmark, Romania, the Czech Republic and Greece are not. far behind.
Martin DermineThe executive director of PAN Europe says: “The exemption should be an exemption that can only be used on special occasions in unforeseen circumstances. The reality is quite different. This widespread abuse makes EU pesticide legislation leaky like a sieve.”
The pesticide industry itself is the main applicant for exemptions. Many Member States simply give up. However, a different approach is possible. Bulgaria, Luxembourg and Malta have not granted any exemptions for these highly toxic substances.
Neonicotinoid pesticides account for almost half of the permits. They pose a major risk to bees and other beneficial insects and are known for massive bee colony losses. Another class of pesticides is not used to prevent or control pests at all, but to “dry out” the grain for harvest.
Martin Dermine says: “EU legislation says that non-chemical methods should be used before using synthetic pesticides. Exceptions can only be granted in exceptional emergency situations after it has previously been proven that integrated pest management, biocontrol and less toxic pesticides are unable to function..”
Natalija Svrtan added: “This report exposes the hypocrisy of Member States who agree to ban pesticides at EU level but then grant exemptions and expose their population and environment to highly toxic chemicals.”
EU citizens are concerned about the use of pesticides, as the Eurobarometer clearly shows. In the European Citizens’ Initiative for Save Bees and Farmers, 1.1 million EU citizens are calling for a drastic reduction in pesticides and pesticide-free agriculture by 2035.
|Table 1: 14 banned pesticides still widely used in many EU countries|
Source: PAN Europe
Source: The Nordic Page