European Unioin: new principles of providing permissions for production of plant protecting substances (pesticides)

The European Parliament adopted draft resolutions as well as directives which will widen the variety of plant protecting substances in member-countries of the EU while introducing prohibition to use certain chemical substances which are used in the production process. Also, there have been envisaged some solutions increasing safety of using plant protecting substances.

When voting as for the draft resolutions in the sphere of launching into circulation plant protecting substances as well as directives in the sphere of balanced usage of pesticides, deputies adopted earlier agreed with member-state of the EU (the Council) content of both proposals.

In the living circle of pesticides we can distinguish three stages: introduction into circulation of new products, their usage and elimination from circulation or utilization. The proposed package covers only two first stages because utilization of wastes is covered by a separate part of legislation.

Prohibition to use toxic substances

It will be prohibited to use substances with mutagenic, carcinogenic or toxic impact which cause endocrine disorders unless their influence on human health in practice is insignificant.

As for substances which can cause the risk of people's developing neurotoxic or immunotoxic disorders , higher standards of security will be obligatory.

Substances which do not meet the above described criteria, can get a permission to be introduced into circulation for the period of up to 5 years if their usage is necessary for effective fight with serious threats for plant health.

Substances which can be substituted with less toxic equivalents, will be approved only for three years in order to promote wider usage of safer equivalents.

Substances which can pose a threat for development or life span of nectariferous bees, cannot be used.

In the approved by both institutions version of the resolution, which refers to introduction into circulation of plant protecting substances, it is envisaged that the list of active substances which can be used in production of plant protecting agents will be developed on the European level with participation of the European Food Safety Authority. On the basis of this list, introduction of substances (pesticides) into circulation will be approved on the level of the EU member-states. Principles concerning ingredients of plant protecting agents are not subject to the REACH resolution, and therefore there is no risk of double approval.

With the aim of approving plant protecting products, the EU will be divided into three geographic zones (northern, central and southern). Every product approved in any country of a zone will be automatically permitted for usage in other countries of the same zone, which will make easier for producers the way of getting permissions for bringing into the market of their product. The deputies were effective to include to the resolution the provisions which still give the states freedom as for approving, limiting, or refusing to approve a product on their market.

The period needed to get a permission will be shortened. The EU member-states during 120 days will have to present a decision on mutual recognition of permissions.

The resolution will gradually substitute existing till this time directives which are mandatory in the countries of the European Union. Substances introduced into circulation on the basis of existing provisions, not on the basis of new ones, will stay on the market till the period of permission expires.

Compromising agreements reached between the Parliament and the Council were based on the idea of Swedish Agency of Chemicals KEMI according to which new criteria of security established by the resolution will cause elimination of about 22 dangerous chemicals.

German deputy Hiltrud BREYER (Greens/EFA, DE) is the reporter responsible for legislative process of this resolution on behalf of the European Parliament. "This agreement is advantageous for all, not only for the environment, health of society and consumers, but also for European economy which has chances to become a leader in the field of innovation introduction" – confirmed the author of the report.

Usage of pesticides in agriculture in places of public usage

The second phase of pesticides living, that is the way they are used, until now hasn't been subject to regulatory actions on the European level.

The EU member-states will develop state action plans (SAP) in which quantitative goal as well as means and action schedules will be developed which will be directed at the decrease of threat and impact of chemicals (pesticides) on human health and the environment. On the basis of the indices there will be developed schedules and limits of restrictions of pesticides usage in the EU member-states.

The resolution encourages the countries to activity directed at agriculture with low level of pesticides usage and to application of non-chemical methods of vermin extermination. Prevention of appearance of harmful organisms or minimization of their negative influence on plant cultivation should be reached through crop rotation or usage of proper techniques of processing and cultivation of resistant plants.

"This directive is a step towards the proper direction, towards greater protection of consumers as well as the environment. The goal is to use as little pesticides as possible, but on timely basis and in proper proportions" – says Christa Klaß.

Prohibition to spray fro the air

The goal of this directive is also to decrease environmental pollution caused by carrying over of aerosols; thus, some hazardous substances shouldn't be used to conduct spraying from the air. Spraying from the air which is a generally accepted method of spraying forests and vineyards will be prohibited, though some exceptions, needing an approval from relevant bodies of the EU member-states, are envisaged. The decision as for permission to conduct spraying from the air must be approved by relevant bodies. Untimely consideration of the decision will mean permission to conduct spraying.

With the aim of protecting waters on fields adjusting water streams as well ground waters which serve as a source of drinking water, the EU member-states must create buffer zones where it is prohibited to use and store pesticides.

It is also envisaged to prohibit or to limit to necessary minimum pesticides usage in parks, public gardens, sport and recreational territories, school yards and play grounds as well as in places near medical institutions (clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, health resorts, hospices).

Christa KLAß (EPP-ED, DE)
Balanced usage of pesticides

Hiltrud BREYER (Verts/ALE, DE)
Introducing into circulation plant protecting products

13.01.2009