Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe has submitted a formal complaint to the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU) disputing the extension of approval granted to the pesticide dimoxystrobin.
PAN Europe has said that this chemical is on the list of the most toxic pesticides that should have been banned years ago.
The group has set out to challenge what it describes as the European Commission’s “systematic practice of granting consecutive years-long prolongations to dangerous pesticides”, without any proper re-evaluation.
Hans Muilerman, chemical officer at PAN Europe said: “The EU law is clear – a decision on the reapproval of dimoxystrobin should have been taken by 2016.
“It is one of the most hazardous pesticides in the EU, classified as likely carcinogenic and toxic to reproduction, as well as persistent in the environment.
“DG Sante keeps prolonging it, for six years now, against the rules, and despite conclusions published in 2017 by the ‘Rapporteur Member State’ that this substance should not be reapproved.”
Delayed reassessments and approval prolongations for pesticides at the EU level are a standard pattern, according to PAN Europe.
The group has highlighted that 136 pesticides have been prolonged in 2021 (accounting for almost 30% of all currently EU-approved pesticides), while only 10 decisions regarding the (non-)renewal of active substances were adopted in that same year.
Angela Rupp, a campaigner at PAN Europe said: “At the core of PAN Europe’s legal action, we question the unlimited use of Article 17 of pesticide regulation 1107/2009/EC.
“Instead of meeting the three-year deadline to reassess and decide on the reapproval or not of a pesticide, the European Commission and member states keep dragging their feet.
“Toxic pesticides that should have been re-evaluated nearly 10 years ago are still on the market without any reassessment of their toxicity.
“This practice flies in the face of the stated goal and purpose of the EU pesticide regulation. After all, the legislators have set up strict deadlines to regularly review the toxicity of pesticides to protect people’s health and the environment. Article 17 cannot be considered as an excuse to completely disregard them,” she added.
PAN Europe claims that the next example of misuse of the article is on the agenda for July 14-15, when the commission proposes to prolong a series of toxic substances such as dicamba, deltamethrin or chlorotoluron.
Hans Muilerman concluded: “What should be the exception has become a systematic standard practice. Not respecting the deadlines for re-evaluation, both at member state and commission-level, looks like a strategy to maintain on the market toxic substances, to the benefit of agri-business.
“The pesticide regulation is clear: Priority must be given to protecting people’s health and the environment. We hope the judges will correct this maladministration.”