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PESTICIDE NEWS The Journal of Pesticide Action Network UK

An international perspective on the health and environmental effects of pesticides IN BRIEF Brexit threat to pesticide legislation Pages 1-2 What can the UK do to reduce environmental threats from pesticides? Pages 3-4 Paraquat health hazards - latest evidence of harm Pages 4-5

BREXIT THREAT TO PESTICIDE LEGISLATION After leaving the EU, the government could allow dangerous pesticides banned elsewhere in Europe to be used in the UK, writes Keith Tyrell. PAN UK has launched a new campaign calling on citizens to fight back and ensure that EU Directives and Regulations serve as a baseline for British pesticide laws. The vote to leave the EU will force the government to reassess the rules that govern the use of pesticides in agriculture, amenity and homes and gardens in the UK. On the one hand, this could be a golden opportunity for the UK to take the lead in pesticide legislation by ensuring that the most rigorous, precautionary regulations are put in place to protect us from these toxic chemicals. But on the other hand, the pressure to remove ‘red tape’ for the farm and food industry is strong. The powerful pro-pesticide lobby would like to see the current legislation watered down. If they succeed, this could result in:• Greater exposure to pesticides that are linked to cancer, reproductive problems and endocrine disruption; • Higher levels of pesticide residues allowed in the food that we eat; • Increased use of pesticides that are highly toxic to bees and other pollinator species.

What Should Happen? PAN UK has already called on the UK Government to strengthen the current pesticide regime and make the UK a world leader in sustainable agriculture.1 We have now gone further by publishing a list of policy measures that the UK could adopt as part of a new plan to protect you and the environment (see advocacy). Measures include introducing mandatory pesticide reduction targets, monitoring regimes, rewards for good practice and disincentives for bad, and more use of the precautionary principle. But the risk now is that instead of adopting such a plan, the government will weaken pesticide legislation in the UK. So today, PAN UK is also launching a campaign

to help UK citizens to place pressure on their MPs to let them know that the vote for Brexit was not a vote to dismantle environmental protection. Politicians are being targeted by highly paid lobbyists from agribusiness who want weaker rules. We need to remind them that they represent us and they have an obligation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the people and environment of the UK and that the priorities of any pesticide policy should be to protect human health and the environment. continued...

Simply go to to send an email to your MP – we have created a sample message and it should only take a minute.


OK-Net Arable: An online tool to boost organic farming Pages 5-6 New study explores differences between conventional and organic cotton growing in Benin Pages 7-10 Sustainable cotton ranking 2017 Page 11 New PAN UK website launched Page 12 Global governance of hazardous pesticides to protect children: Beyond 2020 Page 12 European citizens' initiative to ban glyphosate Page 13 PAN International updates list of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) Page 13 Bees need dandelions campaign Page 14 An update on the EU ban on neonicotinoids Page 14

PESTICIDE NEWS How could weaker rules affect you and your environment? Greater exposure to dangerous chemicals At present, the UK is subject to the rules and legislation that apply throughout the EU. Whilst not perfect, it is one of the strictest regulatory frameworks for pesticides in the world. It was strengthened in 2009 when the EU moved from a “risk-based” system to a more “hazard-based” system. This new approach means that any pesticide with dangerous characteristics – for example carcinogenic, reprotoxic or endocrine disrupting – should be taken out of use. Currently, over 100 pesticides are banned in the EU for health and environmental reasons, and more – including dozens of chemicals that are thought to be endocrine disrupting – are likely to be banned before we leave the EU.2 Successive UK governments have been very sympathetic to the pesticide lobby and actively opposed strengthening EU pesticide legislation.3 Once we leave the EU, the pesticide industry and its allies could get their way and persuade the Government to allow harmful substances banned in the rest of Europe to be used in the UK to grow the food we eat and manage our public spaces like parks and playgrounds. Last year the UK was among a minority of Member States that backed the re-licensing of the herbicide glyphosate – a probable human carcinogen.4 Many other countries, including large agricultural countries like France and Italy, called for it to be banned. In the face of this disagreement, the European Commission agreed to licence for just 18 months, meaning that glyphosate could be banned in the EU by the end of this year. Some EU countries are choosing not to wait and have already begun to restrict its use. The UK government, responding to pressure from


the NFU and chemical industry, continues to back glyphosate5, and if the UK goes its own way on pesticides, it could remain in wide use here, needlessly exposing us and our children to a chemical that probably causes cancer. More pesticides in your food and greater threats to bees and wildlife Approximately 60% of the fruit and vegetables consumed in the UK contain residues of one or more pesticide.6 The current system sets Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for pesticides and food, and for any pesticide that is banned from use in the EU, the level is set at zero. This is not a perfect system, but it does help to reduce our exposure to pesticides. Yet some are pressing for less stringent MRLs once we leave the EU to allow an ‘acceptable’ level of residues for currently banned pesticides.7 In December 2013, the European Commission implemented a partial ban on three bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides.8 Once again the UK government opposed the ban.9 This year, the Commission could decide to make the ban permanent in 2017 and even extend it to cover some other uses and more pesticides. Highly vocal neonicotinoid supporters in the UK – including the NFU and influential politicians like former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson – want to see the ban overturned. They believe that once the UK is out of the EU it will be possible to overturn decisions that are based on a precautionary approach. This would be a disaster for bees and other pollinators in the UK. We need a more caution not less and we need to ensure that the farming lobby does not get its way on this issue.

What can you do? These threats are very real and we need to alert politicians fast. We need them to grasp the greatest opportunity in generations to reduce pesticide use in the UK and



switch to more environmentally friendly farming approaches. Now is the time for the UK to set out a clear vision of a sustainable future for farming, food production and pesticide regulation so the UK can protect the health of its citizens, and become a world leader in, sustainable agriculture. Brexit has been lauded as an example of democracy in action, but to be successful, democracy must a continuous process not a single question. Politicians need to engage with the people they represent, and we need to let them know what we want. You can make a difference – don’t stand on the sidelines while rules designed to protect the environment and our health are bartered away. The pesticide industry and agribusiness may be wealthy and powerful, but if enough of us stand together, we can prevent them from getting their way. Keith Tyrell is Director of PAN UK. A version of this article was published in The Ecologist magazine in February. References: 1 approval_active_substances_en 2 analysis/1299141/uk_fights_eu_attempts_to_ bring_in_stricter_rules_on_pesticide_and_ crop_spraying.html 3 4 environment/2016/mar/08/eu-vote-oncontroversial-weedkiller-licence-postponedglyphosate 5 healthy-eating/organic-food-what-to-buy/ 6 environment/2014/jul/17/pesticide-residuebreads-uk-crops 7 animals/bees/pesticides_en 8 9




WHAT CAN THE UK DO TO REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS FROM PESTICIDES? Evelyn Underwood looks at a new report from the Institute for European Environmental Policy and PAN UK that examines how the UK’s approach to regulating pesticides is working and considers some policy options for reducing the impacts of pesticide use. The UK’s national action plan on sustainable use of pesticides aims to: “…ensure that pesticides are used sustainably by reducing the risks and impacts of use on human health and the environment and encouraging the development and introduction of pest management and of alternative approaches or techniques.”

How is the UK doing in relation to this aim and how could Brexit change the government’s approach to pesticides? The report published by IEEP and PAN UK in February 20171, analysed the UK’s progress in reducing the impacts of pesticide use on the environment and explored examples of successful approaches in other countries. Since 2001, the UK has taken mainly voluntary and industry led approaches, together with the underpinning regulations that specify correct use of pesticides and equipment. However, pesticides are still being found in our groundwater and rivers in high concentrations. Metaldehyde for example is a compound found in slug pesticides. It is expensive to remove from drinking water, and water companies are increasingly advising and funding farmers and others to stop using it. The evidence for the wide-ranging effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on UK wildlife is building as well. Our report, funded by the RSPB, explored examples of successful approaches to reducing pesticide use in other European countries. In Italy, the regions of Veneto and Friuli are using crop risk insurance to cover pest and disease damage to maize crops. There is a 5% risk that pests can cause significant crop damage, and with the insurance, farmers can avoid using pesticide-

treated seeds and establish integrated pest management techniques. France has passed a law to completely phase out the use of pesticides for non-professional use, and both France and Belgium are prohibiting pesticide use in green spaces, forests and public spaces. The report concludes that the EU water standards and monitoring and reporting requirements are important drivers for reducing pesticides in the UK environment. For example, EU legislation obliges the UK to implement a partial ban on neonicotinoids, despite the UK position against the ban. The ban appears to be supported by accumulating evidence on neonicotinoids’ widespread negative impacts on wildlife. Although the UK has incorporated most of the EU regulatory requirements into UK law, our report makes clear that compliance with water quality standards and implementation of integrated pest management is weak. The report was written before the Brexit referendum and the UK government’s subsequent commitment to leave the EU and the single market. Leaving


the single market will mean EU legislation on pesticides (the Plant Protection Products Regulation, MRL Regulation, Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive, and other associated legislation) will no longer apply in the UK. Furthermore, the Water Framework Directive minimum standards on pesticide levels in freshwater bodies, in particular those used for drinking water, will no longer be mandatory. The government has said that EU legislation will be brought across into UK law but has indicated that about a third of this legislation is problematic in some way: potentially including some pesticide legislation, so this is an area of uncertainty. Operational questions, such as how to respond with due caution to emerging evidence and how to implement the water policy objectives and standards, remain unanswered. continued...

PESTICIDE NEWS Brexit raises many questions about the extent to which future UK governments will meet environmental standards and objectives in the absence of pressure from the European Commission and European Court of Justice to comply with agreed objectives. In the future, the UK could in principle operate its pesticide authorization procedure independently of the EU and its European Food Safety Authority. Market opportunities for farmers exporting produce to the EU to use pesticides that are not (or will not be) permitted in the EU will


be constrained by EU maximum residue requirements and any other future EU wide standards that apply to products wherever they are produced. Some European supermarket chains are working with non-EU suppliers to cut out use of pesticides that are not authorized in the EU. The UK may find it needs to continue to ‘mirror’ EU product pesticide legislation and decisions in order to avoid trade barriers, and accept the European Food Safety Authority opinions and guidance on environmental risk assessment.


IEEP and PAN UK continue their work on the implications of Brexit and the UK’s departure from the single market for the UK’s environmental policy and ambitions. Evelyn Underwood is a Policy Analyst at IEEP References: Effective policy options for reducing environmental risks from pesticides in the UK available for download at 1

PARAQUAT HEALTH HAZARDS - LATEST EVIDENCE OF HARM The acutely toxic herbicide paraquat featured on PAN International’s 1985 ‘Dirty Dozen’ campaign list of the most harmful pesticides. More than thirty years later, it remains the third most widely used herbicide in the world and still too many people suffer acute or even fatal poisoning or chronic ill health from paraquat exposure. Stephanie Williamson looks at the evidence. Swiss NGO Public Eye, PAN Asia Pacific and PAN UK have collaborated for several years to compile the scientific research on paraquat health hazards to humans. The latest version “Adverse health effects caused by paraquat – A bibliography of documented evidence” has been published1 and provides a comprehensive update

since the last version2 in 2011. New studies and poisoning case reports in the peer-reviewed literature from a range of countries reinforce earlier conclusions that ‘safe use’ of paraquat, as claimed by its best known manufacturer Syngenta, is simply impossible in developing country conditions. The World Health Organisation’s


Regional Office for Africa recently highlighted application of paraquat by farm workers without adequate protection as a key cause of pesticide poisoning in Ghana. Even when workers use protective equipment as required, exposure during mixing of solutions and spraying cannot be eliminated. continued...

PESTICIDE NEWS In view of the very high acute toxicity of paraquat, its ability to damage skin and be absorbed via skin, absence of an antidote, and as a sufficient protection level for workers cannot be guaranteed even under conditions of “normal use”, urgent regulatory action is needed to reduce exposure to this harmful herbicide, as called for by many authors of the scientific papers listed. The EU banned all uses of paraquat in 2007, as the potential exposure of workers was considered too high even with protective equipment. The report also includes information on paraquat poisonings from developed regions, including several European countries before and after the EU ban. A major review of incidents during 2010-2015 in the US documents numerous accidental paraquat poisonings, many of these fatal and often as paraquat was transferred to a drink container (contrary to use directions). Dermal exposure to paraquat during application – via leaks or spills and contamination of skin while spraying – is common and has resulted in severe skin burns that can necessitate skin graft, eye injuries, and several fatalities. As a result, in 2016 the US Environmental Protection Agency proposed to prohibit all handheld application equipment, including backpack sprayers and hand gun sprayers, for



paraquat dichloride, and to restrict paraquat use to certified applicators only and require that all paraquat containers use closed system technology.

the literature also confirms a large proportion of paraquat poisonings occurs either through occupational exposure or from accidental intake (especially by children).

Recent years have seen many more studies published on the chronic effects of paraquat, including more evidence linking exposure to an increase in Parkinson’s disease. One meta-analysis of epidemiological studies indicated that the risk for developing Parkinson’s increased by about two-fold for farm workers exposed. Paraquat can have adverse long-term effects on the respiratory system, impairing lung function and can trigger chronic dermatitis. Reproductive problems have been reported and paraquat is considered a potential endocrine disrupting chemical. A link with increased risk of certain cancers and damage to genetic material has been found and with harm to the immune system.

The good news is that implementing bans – or stricter regulations – on paraquat has proven successful to reduce not only cases related to self-harm but also occupational, accidental and unintentional cases. A decrease in paraquat poisoning numbers was noted in the EU after the ban was introduced and following stricter regulation and enforcement in Japan. Due to the extremely high risks of using paraquat under working conditions and the prevalence of serious accidental poisonings and deliberate ingestion, the conclusion from this report is that a global ban of paraquat is the only effective measure to protect the health of those working and living on farms.

Paraquat is infamous for being the pesticide ‘of choice’ for suicide attempts and the report shows that deliberate self-harm remains a serious problem, causing such high numbers of fatalities that paraquat has been banned or severely restricted in several countries. Approaches aimed at improved safety, such as new formulations and recommendations for safer storage, have had limited impact. However,

Stephanie Williamson is PAN UK’s Staff Scientist. Find the full report at References: Adverse health effects caused by paraquat – A bibliography of documented evidence. Public Eye, PAN Asia Pacific and PAN UK. January 2017. 1

Neumeister L & Isenring R. Paraquat: Unacceptable health risks for users (3rd ed.), Berne Declaration, Switzerland, 2011. 2

OK-NET ARABLE: AN ONLINE TOOL TO BOOST ORGANIC FARMING Bram Moeskops hopes that a new tool to help organic farmers share experience will lead to higher yields and better quality of organic produce. Organic farming in the EU has recorded substantial growth over the last decade, both in terms of production and market demand. The organic area in the EU has almost doubled since 2004; 5.7% of EU agricultural land is now under organic management.1 Organic farming is a productive form of agriculture which combines food production with care for the environment and does not use synthetic pesticides. However, concerns have been raised whether organic farming is also productive enough. On average, organic yields are 20-25% lower than yields of conventional farms. Closing the yield gap is one of the most important challenges in organic arable farming in Europe.2,3 In addition, organic yields vary a lot compared to variation of yields in conventional farming. This is often due to the level of knowledge of the farmer. Evidence shows that the more experienced the farmer is, the higher the yield is. This indicates there is need, but also a clear possibility to improve farm yields.4 continued...




Indeed, organic agriculture works as a complex system which requires a very high level of knowledge, but knowledge exchange between organic farmers and technicians remains limited. Also the knowledge gap between organic farmers across the EU is considerable. Therefore, OK-Net Arable aims to improve the exchange of innovative and traditional knowledge among farmers, farm advisers and scientists to increase productivity and quality in organic arable cropping in Europe.

cropping systems that do not use synthetic products to eliminate them. However, they need to be controlled in order to get good crop yields. The amount and diversity of weed types that appear among crops depends on crop rotation, nitrogen supply, soil type, soil structure, climate, and weed control measures. For example, in arable systems dominated by cash crops and with a low share of perennial grass-clover leys in the crop rotation, perennial weeds such as couch grass and thistles can severely damage production.

OK-Net Arable knowledge platform

In general, careful selection of crop varieties and strengthening their competitive advantage is a precondition for efficient and effective suppression of weeds. The OK-Net Arable knowledge platform can help farmers design a robust weed management plan. It offers tools such as a French guide on mechanical weeding and a practical guide to green manures.

One of the main products of OKNet Arable is the knowledge platform (http://farmknowledge. org/). Farmer’s needs were taken into account at every stage of development in order to make it easy for to use. In addition to English, the platform is available in 9 other languages. The solutions presented in the platform are divided according to the most relevant topics in organic arable farming: Soil quality and fertility, nutrient management, pest and disease control, weed management and solutions for specific crops. Not only can farmers find solutions and engage with others via this platform, they can also propose solutions. Users can search for materials on a specific topic using free-text search or via pre-selected keywords. As the specific keywords have been translated to the 10 languages, users can search using keywords in their native language. For example, a Danish user searching for materials about weeds can use the Danish keyword "ukrudt" which will also result in materials in French that are related to weeds. The users can also search for specific material types, e.g. videos, and tools from a certain country of origin.

Weed management Weeds are part of the natural world and are found in biodiverse

Pesticide and disease control The use of plant protection products is restricted in organic farming, so controlling pests and diseases by prevention is the best way to deal with them. Using resistant varieties, mixtures of varieties or species and healthy seed are all ways to take preventative action. Designing crop rotations that break up the pest or disease development cycle is another. Farmers can also adapt crop cultivation techniques and timings to avoid difficulties. Lastly, cultivating biodiversity in and around fields benefits the natural enemies of pests, and so may help to control them. When planning crop rotations farmers should take into account the fact that although diseases are a common cause of yield loss in many arable crop species, severe problems with pests are mostly limited to rapeseed and potato crops. The OK-Net Arable knowledge platform offers tools and resources that can help farmers design a robust management plan for pest and disease control, for



example a video on wire worm control in organic potato production and a video on control of pollen beetles in rapeseed.

Conclusion Farmers and farm associations can use the OK-Net Arable knowledge platform to find practical organic solutions, and at the same time discuss how it works on the field, in their geographic and climatic conditions. This should enable farmers to increase productivity and quality in organic arable cropping and so contribute to less pesticide use all over Europe. Acknowledgement OK-Net Arable has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 652654. The information provided only reflects the author’s view. The Research Executive Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information provided. Bram Moeskops is OK-Net Arable Coordinator and Senior Scientific Officer

References: Meredith S, Willer H (Eds.) (2016). Organic in Europe. Prospects and Developments 2016. IFOAM EU, Brussels and FiBL, Frick, 85 pp. ifoameu_organic_in_europe_2016.pdf (Accessed on 12th Jan., 2017) 1

EIP-AGRI Focus Group Organic Farming (2013): Optimising Arable Yields Recommendations and Outputs. EIP-AGRI Agriculture & Innovation. focus-group-organic-farming-optimising-arableyields-recommendations-and-outputs (Accessed on 12th Jan., 2017) 2

Niggli U, Schmidt J, Watson C, Kriipsalu M, Shanskiy M, Bàrberi P, Kowalska J, Schmitt A, Daniel C, Wenthe U, Conder M, Wohlfahrt J, Schild M, Dierauer H, Krauss M, Moeskops B, Padel S, Micheloni C, Constanzo A, Thonar C, Wilbois K-P (2016). State-of-the-art research results and best practices. OK-Net Arable Deliverable 3.1. images/OK_Net_WP3_D3.1_final.pdf (Accessed on 12th Jan., 2017) 3

Cullen B, Amos D, Padel S (2016): Description of farmer innovation groups. OK-Net Arable Deliverable 2.1. http://www.ok-net-arable. eu/images/OK_NET_WP2_D2_1_final_-_ Description_of_farmer_innovation_groups.pdf (Accessed on 12th Jan., 2017) 4




NEW STUDY EXPLORES DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CONVENTIONAL AND ORGANIC COTTON GROWING IN BENIN PAN UK’s Head of International Programmes, Dr Sheila Willis, shares some of the data from a baseline study conducted for PAN UK’s latest organic cotton project in West Africa.

Pictured: Organic cotton farmers meet with PAN-UK and OBEPAB staff in Alkampa, Benin, in 2016 In 2015, PAN-UK secured significant support from the Big Lottery Fund to scale up work with Organisation Béninoise pour la Promotion de l'Agriculture Biologique (OBEPAB), in Benin to deliver support to 3,000 cotton producers. Together with support from TRAID, the funding will enable OBEPAB to provide high quality training and other technical and practical assistance to farmers eager to make a successful transition from conventional to organic cotton. A baselines survey of 498 cotton producers was conducted during the 2016 season to enable us to measure the impact the project is delivering over the following four years. We will monitor progress each season and a similar study will be conducted towards the end of the project in order to assess progress with the recently recruited farmers as well as more established organic producers, and to compare with cotton farmers outside the project. The survey was developed and field tested by PAN UK and OBEPAB staff with the help of cotton farmers from Glazoue. It was conducted in four locations; two in the North of Benin (Kandi and Sinende) and two further south (Glazoue and Djidja).

Pesticides and health The results of the baseline survey regarding the impact of pesticides on farmers’ health and finances were extremely concerning. Some 42% of conventional farmers reported experiencing acute pesticide poisoning in the previous 12 months. The nature and frequency of poisoning incidents were alarming, with systemic effects on the nervous system, heart rate, and respiratory system being reported, and a high proportion of farmers experiencing multiple episodes per year (17% of

conventional farmers said they had experienced signs and symptoms of pesticide poisoning a shocking 6+ times in the previous year). Children are much more vulnerable to the impact of pesticides on health. Unfortunately, eight farmers reported that a child (under 18) usually applies pesticides on their farm.These factors are not only having a serious impact on health, but also on incomes and productivity. 47% farmers experiencing symptoms of acute pesticide poisoning said


that they had missed days of work as a result, and a similar percentage (48%) had bought medication to treat these symptoms, spending an average of FCFA 21849 (£28) over the year – a significant amount when most farmers earn less than £600 per year from cotton. When organic farmers were asked why they ceased using pesticides, 52% said that their reason was because of the dangers pesticides pose to their health. continued...



FEBRUARY 2017 Figure 1. Map of Benin showing locations of baseline surveys; two in the North of Benin (Kandi and Sinende) and two further South (Glazoue and Djidja)

A small but worrying minority of conventional farmers were using empty pesticides containers for drinking water and foodstuffs. Over the years, PAN-UK has encountered numerous incidents, many fatal, of pesticide poisoning from drinking from contaminated containers. Children tend to be particularly badly affected due to their smaller body mass and poorer ability to process toxins. continued...

Figure 2. Days’ work lost by farmers due to the acute effects of pesticides on their health


PESTICIDE NEWS Yield and revenue Heavy rains and high winds in 2015-16 resulted in depressed cotton yields in the central areas of Benin, compared to the north, resulting in lower revenue than the previous season. Various factors are involved in a comparison of financial returns from organic cotton production with conventional cotton, and it is difficult to tease all these out in a survey of this kind. The study showed that conventional cotton farmers were achieving higher yields than organic farmers (510kg/ha for


organic compared to 811kg/ha for conventional). This is consistent with OBEPAB’s experience. The price per kg for organic was FCFA312/ kg compared to FCFA257/kg for conventional. Calculating the differences in production costs was beyond the scope of this study. However, pesticide costs are high and previous evidence from controlled trials in 2008 indicated that organic farmers can increase their yield significantly and gain clear economic benefits as well as very obvious health benefits from the switch to organic.


Use of organic pest control techniques It was interesting to learn that organic pest control techniques are not at all evident among conventional farmers. Biopesticides, such as neem – which is grown locally, can easily be used within a conventional system. OBEPAB have been very welcoming to government agricultural extension officers; it is hoped that they will pick up some of these techniques and help conventional farmers to use them to reduce their pesticide use and their costs, as well as supporting organic producers. (See Table 1.)

Table 1: Use of organic pest control techniques

Neem Conventional % Organic %

Food Spray1








A product that can be made from low cost, local ingredients that attracts natural enemies into the crop and has been shown to improve the control of pest species – for more detail see 1

Soil improvement and conservation 16% of conventional farmers used no soil conservation techniques, while all of the trained organic farmers used at least one technique such as compost, mulch, and livestock manure to improve soil. OBEPAB training is very evidently having a positive impact on farmers’ soil conservation practices. However, the take up of these practices was not as rapid or as high as anticipated. One factor is lack of water, which impacts on farmers’ ability to make compost. OBEPAB are responding to these results by stepping up their focus on soil conservation in the farmer training curriculum and their work with farmers to achieve good soil and water conservation in more arid environments.

Pictured: Child playing with empty pesticide containers. continued...





Figure 3. Comparing the length of training with the proportion of farmers using compost

Gender 99% of women said they owned a plot of land separate from the family land (traditionally controlled by men). The issue that the team have noticed is that the husband’s land is harvested first and the women’s land is often harvested very late, resulting in significant losses. The team work hard to empower women in the project, and have a high proportion of women participants and women taking active and senior roles in the organic cotton cooperatives. With greater empowerment, the team hope to improve the capacity of women to mobilise the family and allow her to harvest her own land in good time as well as the ‘family’ land. The survey also asked about girls’ schooling this year compared to last. One of the ways that the new financial support will help is to supply milling equipment to grind and prepare neem for use as a botanical insecticide. It is expected that providing a mill will cut down

on the hours spent by young girls on this mundane task, and improve their attendance at school. The results of the survey indicate that access to machinery for processing maize, neem etc. is a factor in school attendance. However, many schools are desperately short staffed. This is an overwhelming issue for children’s attendance at school. In one of the villages that had already had support from PAN UK to purchase a neem mill (also used for milling maize), the equipment has had a dramatic effect on schooling due to proceeds from the mill being used to finance three new teaching staff. We anticipate that close monitoring of school attendance in villages that gain access to milling equipment will be a more effective means of monitoring these issues than surveys and we are currently in discussion with schools in participating villages in order to look into girls’ attendance more closely.


Finally The results demonstrate that hazardous pesticides used in conventional farming are having a very negative impact on farmers’ health. The organic yields are lower than conventional, even though very high yields are regularly achieved in organic demonstration plots. Our challenge is to ensure that organic cotton farmers can achieve good yields on their own land, too. This will depend on delivering high quality training and support. Over the last two decades OBEPAB has established a robust and highly regarded programme of training and technical support. We are monitoring progress carefully and have every confidence that this can be delivered even while expanding the programme to thousands of new farmers.




SUSTAINABLE COTTON RANKING 2017 PAN UK, Solidaridad and WWF have released the list of companies that will be assessed in the new round of their Sustainable Cotton Ranking to be published in October 2017. The second edition of the ranking will include major companies from all continents, including from countries such as China and Brazil, and online companies such as Zalando and Amazon. As in 2016, the ranking will score companies on their policy, traceability and actual uptake of sustainable cotton.

On the target list This year the scope of the ranking will be broadened. The target list of companies1 has been expanded to offer a more global representation of consumer-facing companies estimated to use more than 10,000 metric tons of lint cotton annually and include companies from emerging markets and online retailers. Creating a list of the largest corporate cotton users is challenging as most companies do not publish the volumes they use in their products. PAN UK, Solidaridad and WWF welcome feedback from any companies who believe their cotton use has been under or overestimated, as well as those whose may have been omitted from the list and wish to be included.

will be published in October 2017 so as to take into account companies’ public reporting on their 2016 performance.

Updating market trends The report will also include a market update on the available supply and uptake of cotton from the main cotton sustainability standards (organic, Fairtrade, Cotton Made in Africa and Better Cotton). While around 10% of global cotton supply was grown according to one of

these standards in 2014, less than a fifth of this amount was actually being bought as more sustainable cotton, with the rest being sold as conventional due to lack of demand from top brands and companies. Find the draft list of companies 2017 for inclusion in the 2017 Sustainable Cotton Ranking, as well as the Sustainable Cotton Ranking 2016 guide here 1http://www.pan-uk. org/companies-assessed-secondsustainable-cotton-ranking/

Scoring company progress The first Cotton Ranking published in 2016 showed that the majority of companies using most cotton globally were failing to deliver on cotton sustainability, with just eight companies out of 37 showing positive progress in the ranking. By conducting a second Cotton Ranking in 2017, PAN UK, Solidaridad and WWF expect to see that more companies have taken steps forward on their sustainable cotton policies, traceability and sourcing. As transparency and accountability to customers is considered paramount by the three NGOs, only publicly available information will be used in scoring company performance. The report





NEW PAN UK WEBSITE LAUNCHED We are pleased to announce the launch of our new website with a fresh design, updated content, easy access to our publications and news channels. Find us at and we'd love to hear your feedback.

GLOBAL GOVERNANCE OF HAZARDOUS PESTICIDES TO PROTECT CHILDREN: BEYOND 2020 PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) has published a new report calling on the UN’s Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) to develop a new system for the global governance of pesticides and the phasing out of highly hazardous pesticides, which pays special attention to the rights and needs of children. In order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030, PANAP appeals for countries to cease operating under a double standard and prevent the export of pesticides that are not registered for use in their own country due to health and environmental considerations. It also demands that pesticide companies abide by all aspects of the International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management and that they do not sell pesticides that require personnel protective equipment (PPE) in countries where local conditions make the use of PPE impractical. PANAP also calls on the WHO to launch a major project to uncover the global incidence of pesticide poisoning and identify the pesticides causing the most problems. Above all, children’s rights to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health guaranteed in Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child should be upheld. Read the full report here:





EUROPEAN CITIZENS' INITIATIVE TO BAN GLYPHOSATE A campaign was launched this month by a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) calling on the European Commission to ban the controversial weed killer glyphosate; reform the pesticide approval procedure; and set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use.

PAN UK is therefore fully supporting the ECI call to ban glyphosate and we are urging people to support the initiative by signing the petition at We need 1 million signatures to make the European Commission take action and we believe that there are enough concerned citizens in the EU to make that possible.

The herbicide was nearly banned from use in late 2016 when the reauthorisation for 15 years was postponed and glyphosate was given a temporary 18 month approval whilst further toxicological tests were undertaken.

“We do not need to rely on harmful chemicals to grow our food and we certainly do not need to be spraying a probable human carcinogen in the areas that we and our children frequent. Glyphosate should have been banned in 2016, together let’s get it banned in 2017.”

PAN UK, like the people of the EU, wants to see a complete end to the use of glyphosate in agriculture, in the towns and cities where we live and in peoples’ homes and gardens. We are already running a PesticideFree Towns campaign urging local councils to stop the use of glyphosate in our towns and cities.

Nick Mole, PAN UK Policy Officer

PAN INTERNATIONAL UPDATES LIST OF HIGHLY HAZARDOUS PESTICIDES (HHPs) Pesticide Action Network International has updated its List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs). The expanded list, which was first published in 2009, now includes 297 chemicals, many still in widespread use in both industrialized countries and the Global South.

possible. A transition away from HHPs is critical to protect human health and for environmental safety” said Susan Haffmans of PAN Germany. In 2006 the Council of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) proposed a “progressive ban of highly hazardous pesticides.” To build on this work of the FAO and the World Health Organization, PAN published the HHPs list in 2009 and continues to update it. The list provides a reference for stakeholders along the entire food chain — from field to fork — to assess if they are applying HHPs or selling food and fiber grown with HHPs.

Compiled by PAN Germany, after an extensive review of existing scientific research, this list includes pesticides that are very toxic to humans, those that cause cancer or interfere with the hormone system, and those that have severe negative effects on the environment. The widespread use of these pesticides around the world is well documented, and PAN International is pushing for a global phase out of these dangerous chemicals.

For more about PAN International and the 500+ organizations in more than 100 countries that have joined the global call to ban highly hazardous pesticides and replace them with agroecological alternatives, visit

Agricultural communities, farmworkers, farmers, wildlife and the environment all over the world suffer considerable harm from these HHPs. “Decades of experience has shown that, despite numerous ‘safe use’ programs, the safe use of these chemicals is simply not





BEES NEED DANDELIONS - PEOPLE NEED BEES The spring is fast approaching and bees are starting to come out of hibernation, we saw our first this week, and they will be desperate for food. Dandelions are a great source of food for them and they are hugely abundant everywhere, in towns and cities, the countryside, parks, verges, roundabouts and gardens. They supply great pollen and nectar for emerging bees and can help ensure that bee colonies thrive into the year. PAN UK is urging everybody to learn to love their dandelions and to leave them for the bees this spring. • We are asking that councils do not mow or spray roadside verges, roundabouts or other areas where dandelions are growing until after the spring; • Asking gardeners to leave the dandelions in their gardens, or at least a small patch of them for the bees to feed on; • Asking that the public not pick dandelions but leave them for the bees instead. Download one of our postcards at Or just by spreading the word and making others aware of just how important the dandelion is for bees. You can also support us by buying and wearing one of our fabulous new Bees Need Dandelions t-shirts, hoodies, tea towels or bags at

Thank you for helping the bees.

AN UPDATE ON THE EU BAN ON NEONICOTINOIDS Our colleagues, PAN Europe and Client Earth, have pulled together a comprehensive report on all the ‘emergency’ derogations that have been permitted by EU Member States for farmers to use any of the partially banned bee toxic neonicotinoids. The new report, “Bee Emergency Call” highlights how pesticide companies are undermining the ban by calling for ‘emergency’ derogations and how the EU Commission is allowing this to happen. It turns out that despite the ban now running for three years it has been very far from a total ban. It also appears clear from the report that the people requesting derogations are not actually farmers but instead the companies that make and profit from the use and sale of neonicotinoids. The research shows that since the instigation of the ban, 62 ‘emergency’ authorisations have been approved, including the UK. And that many more have been requested but refused. We hope that once the ban is made permanent, if it is, then these so called emergency derogations will no longer be permitted.

In support of Pesticide Action Week we invite interested campaigners to come and share their experiences as part of our Pesticide-Free Towns Campaign.

The full report can be found here:

The event will be held at Hackney City Farm, London on Saturday, 25th March 2017. For further details contact us on

All Welcome 14

PAN UK - Pesticide News - Issue 106  

February 2017

PAN UK - Pesticide News - Issue 106  

February 2017