Rely on science to get legislation right for plant protection products, says CLA

15 June 2016

Vital products needed for land management must be determined by science and their potential health risks following definitions of hazardous substances published today (15 June).

The CLA which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses said European Commission documents which set out the criteria for determining endocrine disrupters – natural and chemical substances that can alter the hormonal system - must identify the potential risk of plant protection products by using a proportionate and clear science-led approach.

CLA President Ross Murray said: “The use of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides are a vital tool to help farmers keep putting healthy and nutritious food on our tables. If added to the endocrine disruptor classification list the losses would have significant consequences for agriculture and land management. This decision must not get bogged down in a debate about who can shout loudest but must rely on a sensible scientific approach.

“The Council and the European Parliament must now take a proportionate view and base their decision using risk assessment. Without understanding the difference between risk and hazard properly, substances which pose little threat to human health or the environment such as salt and caffeine could be deemed to have endocrine disrupting properties and become needlessly banned.

“The potential loss of essential plant protection products could significantly reduce the ability of landowners and farmers to control pests, fungi and diseases without any additional benefits to the environment.”