Pesticides News The journal of Pesticide Action Network UK An international perspective on the health and environmental effects of pesticides
No.97 December 2014
Cotton farmers participating in a farmer field school in Benin (Photo: PAN UK)
In this edition • Ecological Pest Management case study: Integrated Production & Pest Management in West Africa increases crop yields and incomes • Unwanted presents - pesticide residues in your Christmas dinner • Citizens vote to ban pesticides in the Italian community of Mals www.pan-uk.org
• Call to Action to on HHPs • More action needed on bee-harming pesticides • EU consultation on hormone disrupting chemicals • Call for public inquiry into sheep dip poisonings • Bhopal 30 years on
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Ecological Pest Management case study: Integrated Production & Pest Management in West Africa increases crop yields and incomes PAN UK collates experiences of the successful implementation of ecological approaches to pest management in various parts of the world. In the first of a series of case studies for Pesticides News, Stephanie Williamson looks at the success of Integrated Production & Pest Management in West Africa, and the role of Farmer Field Schools in that success. In the last decade, over 160,000 West African farmers have taken huge strides forward in cutting their use of toxic or expensive agrochemicals, while increasing their crop yields and household incomes, and making their farming systems more diverse and sustainable. The roots of this success started in 2001 with The West African Regional Integrated Production and Pest Management (IPPM) Programme by the Food & Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) to help combat food insecurity and poverty in the dry savannah lands of Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. These widespread problems across the Sahel region are caused mainly by serious degradation of water and soils due to unfavourable climatic conditions, weakened natural ecosystems, production systems which are totally unsuited to local farming conditions and a lack of awareness among farmers of ways they could tackle these problems. Excessive use of highly hazardous pesticides was a common problem in cotton and vegetable production by smallholders, leading to serious environmental problems, especially to aquatic ecosystems (Box A), and regular poisoning incidents among farming families. In rice, yields were often low due to the high cost of synthetic fertiliser and problems in crop husbandry. Supporting agroecological learning through Farmer Field Schools To increase production efficiently and sustainably, farmers need to understand under what conditions agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilisers www.pan-uk.org
and pesticides) can either complement, or disrupt, the ecological processes on which farming relies – including processes such as pollination and the natural pest control services provided by predatory and parasitic insects. For example, farmers need to know how soil amendments, such as composted rice straw, promote the action of soilbased organisms which help crop plants to access key nutrients and also help suppress plant diseases. The Farmer Field School (FFS) approach has developed to provide this kind of knowledge, using participatory, handson methods best suited to adult ‘discovery-learning’ in groups and enabling farmers with little formal education to compare and assess different farming practices in their own fields (Box B).
Farmers participating in a farmer field school in Benin (Photo: PAN UK)
experiences but to adapt the curriculum to address the equally important issues of low soil fertility and poor farming practices, dubbing the approach Integrated Production and Pest Management (IPPM). The West Africa IPPM Programme is built on three main objectives:
• building local farming capacity; Successful FFS training • improving food security and programmes had already taken place in Asia to help farmers move to IPM and livelihoods; and reduce use of pesticides. The West • raising awareness of the economic Africa programme decided to use these Box A: Water contamination problems in cotton and vegetable growing areas Communities living near the major river basins of West Africa are highly dependent on the local aquatic ecosystems, not only for their domestic water needs, but also often for their livelihoods, related to fishing, rearing livestock and irrigating small-scale farms. Water quality is a precious resource that has been badly affected by years of toxic and ill-advised pesticide use. Water samples taken from rice and vegetable production areas along the Senegal River in 2004 were analysed and found to contain residues of 19 different pesticides, 40% of which exceeded EU Maximum Tolerable Risk thresholds for safety, sometimes by more than 100-fold. These findings were extremely worrying as rural communities draw their drinking water directly from these sources. Rural families can also be exposed via swimming, bathing and washing clothes and kitchen utensils in contaminated water. The levels of contamination recorded and the toxicity of many of the pesticides in use point to very high environmental risks too, with indications that the entire aquatic ecosystem could be at risk of damage, from plankton to fish. Periodic mass fish kills had been reported by farmers along the Senegal River. 2
Pesticides News costs of harmful side-effects of pesticides and positive alternatives for pest management. In terms of pesticide hazards, the FFS curricula support farmers to eliminate or greatly reduce their use of the most acutely toxic pesticides (WHO Classes I and II). The FFS approach works because it is not top-down or prescriptive - the training content is not fully specified in advance by outside experts, but is a learning process open to examination, discussion and adaptation by all those involved. This flexible process helps to fine-tune activities and practices to the local agronomic, economic and social context. Pest and crop management techniques are drawn from formal research, traditional farmer knowledge and experiences from other programmes. FFS groups try out and adapt different techniques to build up their own set of Good Agricultural Practices. For pest management, the FFS groups learnt the value of natural enemies in keeping pests in check and experimented with botanical insecticides, made from extracts of locally available plants, such as neem tree seed and chilli, and commercially available biopesticides. Crop husbandry practices include better nursery seedbeds, improved transplanting methods for rice and vegetable seedlings and ways for making and using compost. Better pruning techniques helped mango farmers regenerate productivity in their older orchards and control pest and disease problems without resorting to hazardous pesticides. In cotton, the conventional production approach had mainly been to recommend calendar-based spraying of synthetic insecticides, or sometimes a more targeted regime per crop growth stage or using thresholds based on pest levels. Through the FFS, farmers learnt how to look for pests and assess pest incidence and damage www.pan-uk.org
No.97 December 2014 Box B: Farmer Field School principles While FFS is a flexible approach, 7 basic principles should be respected: • Farmer-centred: In FFS, farmers conduct their own field studies. Training content is in response to farmers’ identified problems and farmers decide on the topics for which they need assistance from technical experts. • Group discovery learning: All learning is done in the field in small groups comparing different options. This ‘learning by doing’ allows farmers to come to their own conclusions and gain confidence in their decision making. • A learning, rather than a technology/message, focus: FFS encourages farmer experimentation, rather than promoting specific technologies. Farmers generate their own learning materials from field observations and experiment on their own farms to build their knowledge further. • Competent facilitators: The role of the facilitator is to create a suitable environment for learning, by asking questions and provide backstopping support. A good facilitator needs not only technical knowledge, but more importantly a certain attitude. • Empowerment of farmers: Through collecting then analysing data from the crop agro-ecosystem, basing crop management decisions on their analysis and reaching group consensus, farmers develop a greater confidence in their abilities. By training farmers in groups, FFS improves farmers’ communication, conflict and problem solving abilities, leadership and discussion skills. • Systems approach: FFS considers the farm and the whole agroecosystem in the learning process. • Self help: FFS is a participatory, community based approach and depends on full involvement of individual farmers and communities. Key to its sustainability is a sense of ownership and farmers are expected to take over the financing of FFS in the medium term. Source: adapted from IITA, 2006 (ref 2)
should be taken. If signs of pest eggs, larvae, or damage are found, the first step is to use biopesticides or botanical extracts with low mammalian toxicity. Only if a pest problem persists and is not responding to plant-extract treatments after three or four applications will use of a less toxic synthetic insecticide be considered. Table 1 compares the cost per hectare of cotton pest control of the Milling neem seeds to make biopesticides in conventional recommendations and Benin (Photo: PAN UK) the IPPM alternative. Neem seed levels in their own fields in order to extract has been the most popular judge if and when control actions option chosen and demand for neem as
Pesticides News an insecticide has increased hugely. Communities in the cotton sectors of Mali have begun to organize to plant more neem trees and some cotton farmers are now buying commercial neem products. Stronger farmer co-operative organisations and community action Developing social networks which then generate collective action is at the heart of the FFS approach. The training strengthens cohesion within existing groups and is a safe learning environment to develop practical and communication skills and confidence. 67% of FFS facilitators are farmers themselves, usually from a co-op or farmer association. Communities decide which farmers to train as facilitators, with the expectation that they will return with useful skills to benefit all – a strong motivating factor. The positive gender approach gives women opportunities to interact with producer groups, gain confidence in interacting in mixed groups and ensure women’s voices are heard in discussions and planning. The
No.97 December 2014 programme also supports farmer using neem extract rose from 3% to organisations to join together to 82%. They gained an average 61% market their produce more effectively. increase in net overall crop value after calculating input costs (but excluding Positive impacts on agrochemical labour). IPPM cotton farmers in Mali reduction, costs and yields reduced pesticide use by 94% and By applying methods learnt in the increased compost use almost fourfield schools, IPPM-trained farmers fold. In Burkina Faso, IPPM helped have been able to shift away from the increase cotton yields by 14 -70%. older, toxic, broad-spectrum In rice, the main problems were poor pesticides which readily kill natural crop management practices leading to enemies and pose serious risks to farm low yields, rather than pesticide families, livestock and wildlife. A problems. The IPPM programme 2009 survey of Senegalese IPPM promotes use of higher quality seeds vegetable farmers found pesticide use by farmers. As a result of the FFS reduced by 92%, averaging reductions training in rice in Burkina Faso, 92% of of 3.2 litres of pesticides per hectare, farmers started to use improved while saving US$60 per hectare in varieties, compared to 30% production costs. The percentage of beforehand. Higher quality seeds are a farmers using synthetic pesticides valuable resource, not to be wasted. dropped from 97% to 12%, replacing Improved planting practices in these with commercial biopesticides irrigated rice systems can increase and/or locally produced neem seed yield while, in most cases, extract. The proportion of farmers considerably reducing the amount of using biopesticides ‘Biobit’ (based on seed used per hectare. FFS trained rice the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis) farmers in Burkina Faso reduced seed and ‘Green Muscle’ (based on the quantity by 31% per hectare and fungus Metarhizium flavoviride) Beninese FFS farmers by 13%. increased from 3% to 75%, while those Benefits of reducing use and risks from highly hazardous pesticides Basing pest management strategies on IPPM methods has led to massive reductions in the quantities of synthetic pesticides used by farmers. "Not using pesticides allows us to conserve aquatic wildlife and clean up water and our living environment. The improvement of water quality is obvious now and IPPM smallholders have set up fish farming directly in the water courses, to diversify the diet of the Senegalese people." Djiery Gaye, IPPM farmer/trainer and General Secretary of the Niayes Federation of Horticulture Growers, Senegal In the case of Mali cotton, in just two areas, around 1,500 FFS graduates reduced pesticide use by an estimated 47,000 litres between 2003 and 2010,
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compared with untrained farmers in areas not part of the programme. As programme managers point out, it is easy to imagine the benefits for health and environment from this reduction but harder to measure them. More recently the West Africa IPPM programme has collaborated with Oregon State University to develop novel techniques for understanding in detail the type and level of risks posed by hazardous pesticides, collecting detailed pesticide use data from conventional, untrained farmers.
thyroid function and depressed red blood cell count. The results also raise concern about pre-natal pesticide exposure, as women frequently work in treated fields. The assessment has shown that there are high risks of impairment to the unborn child, with exposure to pesticides associated with IQ depression, memory and reasoning problems at considerably higher levels than those reported in the scientific literature as causing effects. In terms of environmental harm, the assessment shows widespread risks to terrestrial and aquatic wildlife throughout the The team has identified human region, at levels that could pose a health risks from dermal exposure to significant threat to regional adults and children that are severe biodiversity. enough in many crops to require long periods (up to three weeks) when entry This data forms a valuable tool to to fields should be restricted. They help decision-makers appreciate the conclude that human health impacts to risks of not taking action to tackle adults and children are likely under the unsustainable and hazardous pesticide conditions of exposure and products use. It provides a robust science-based being used. Farm workers and children argument based on local conditions for routinely experience the combined putting far more resources into farmer effects of exposure to more than one training in ecological pest and crop compound, at levels well above the US management. regulatory standards that are References considered to be protective. Known 1. Sustainable crop production health effects for some of the pesticides used, included intensification in the Senegal and cholinesterase inhibition, Niger River basins of francophone developmental toxicity, impairment of West Africa. Settle, W and Hama
Garba, M. (2011) International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. DOI:10.3763/ijas.2010.0559 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/ abs/10.3763/ijas.2010.0559#.VEAYTd0zIU 2. A guide for conducting farmer field schools on cocoa integrated crop and pest management. International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (2006). 3. Reducing pesticide risks to farming communities: cotton farmer field schools in Mali. Settle, W, SoumarĂŠ, M, Sarr, M, Hama Garba, M and Poisot, A-S. (2014). Phil.Trans.R.Soc B 2014 369 20120277 http:// rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ content/369/1639/20120277.full.pdf +html 4. Measuring pesticide ecological and health risks in West African agriculture to establish an enabling environment for sustainable intensification. Jepson, PC et al. (2014) Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 5 April 2014 vol. 369 no. 1639 20130491 http:// rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ content/369/1639/20130491.full
Citizens vote to ban pesticides in the Italian community of Mals In September this year 75% of the voters in Mals Vinschgau, South Tirol, Italy uniquely decided that they wanted their community to be free of pesticides. Koen Hertoge of PAN Italy reports. The referendum of the community of Mals is unique in Europe. Its citizens have decided that the use of highly toxic, health-compromising, synthetic pesticides and herbicides should be prohibited within the boundaries of the community.
valley, an inner-Alpine dry valley, are mostly apples, and also berries.
South Tirol uses 18,000 acres for fruit cultivation and is one of the largest fruit-growing markets in Europe. However, since 2009, constantly expanding areas of The community of Mals in the intensive pesticide based fruit Vinschgau valley of South Tirol, Italy farming in the upper Vinschgau is the second largest in the region and valley had been causing friction includes eleven villages situated at between organic and livestock between 978 and 1,738m above sea farmers, and the fruit farmers, whose level, with a combined population of intensive farming techniques and 5,092. The crops cultivated in the pesticide use are fuelling pesticide www.pan-uk.org
drift in the area. The conventional fruit growers 5
No.97 December 2014 were at risk of exposure through skin contact and respiratory tract. Interested groups in the area have been involved in intensive discussions aimed at protecting against pesticide drift and improving the co-existence of the different cultures and farming methods, including: • The South Tirol Farmers’ Association – who seem unconcerned about pesticide drift and its effect on organic farmers. • The Beratungsring – which offers information and consulting services to the intensive fruit and wine farming sector.
The village of Laatsch is one of eleven villages making up the community of Mals. (Photo: Katharina Hohenstein)
mainly serve the Italian and the German markets, but have come under competitive pressure in recent years, which has fuelled the expansion of intensive production. Primarily, because a ban on Polish exports to Russia, has meant large numbers of Polish apples are increasingly sold in European markets, undercutting South Tyrolean apples. Conventional fruit farmers, supported by local politicians, seem to believe that it is only by expanding intensive production that they can meet this challenge. One of the factors contributing to pesticide drift in the Mals area is the Vinschgau valley’s characteristic wind. A combination of the funnel shape of the northern valley and the existence of vertical thermal wind shears created on it’s southerly aspect, leads to winds that, while appreciated by the area’s hangliders, are also very effective at speading pesticide drift throughout the valley. Pesticide residues have increasingly been found in organic products, which has impacted economically on organic famers, as www.pan-uk.org
they could no longer sell their products as organic. Pesticide contamination also prevented dairy farmers grazing their cattle. Additionally, preschools, schools, residential areas, bicycle paths, and recreational areas are often situated in immediate proximity to these new, intensively cultivated areas, and the population had become increasingly concerned about the risk to health that this posed. In 2013, for example, the Umweltschutzgruppe Vinschgau (an environmentalist group in Vinschgau) took samples of hay close to the playground of the elementary school of Tartsch, which belongs to the village of Mals. The toxicologist Irene Witte (University of Oldenburg), who has been researching the combined effects of pesticides since 1979, analysed the samples, and found residues of nine active substances, among them dithiocarbamate, dithianon, chlorpyriphos, fluazinam, imidacloprid and penconazol. This meant the hay was too hazardous to be used as animal feed, while students and teachers at the school
• Versuchszentrum Laimburg – an independent research centre for agriculture and forestry • Association of Fruit Farming St. Veith – which supports intensive farming with pesticides Lined up against these interest groups were local environmental groups, organic farmers and their representative associations. However, these discussions did not translate to success. The intensive fruit farmers ignored agreements reached, and the problems persisted and kept increasing. This lead to increased public debate about the issue. A representative survey carried out in 2012, by Apollisby, a leading social research institute in South Tirol, found that 84% of a representative sample of 200 residents of Mals considered intensive fruit farming a problem, as it meant organic farming was no longer possible, as well as threatening human health and the local environmental. In order to execute a referendum, a Promoters’ Committee was created. In 2013 another group of Mals citizens, Hollawint, was also formed. Hollawint initiated actions to gather 6
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public support (letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines, banners, participation at and organization of informational events) and thus received media attention. At the same time it nurtured a deeper connection between residents and the cause. Also in 2013 PAN-Italia was founded in Bologna, with the help of two upper Vinschgau valley residents. PAN-Italia provided expertise and experience on a more international level, to support the citizens of Mals in their efforts. All civic initiative groups, the Environmental Group of Vinschgau, the Organic Farming Associations, as well as numerous local citizens, contributed to the preparations for the A view over Mals from the mountains. (Photo: Katharina Hohenstein) referendum. However, some citizens fought back. Before the results of the referendum were published, a petition, signed by about 150 citizens, was submitted to the Promotersâ€™ Committee, the city of Mals Municipal Authority, and the commission approving the referendum, claiming the referendum was illegal, and its results, therefore,
invalid. The argument against the referendum, supported by the conventional fruit growers, was that as the EU and also Italy legally allows use of these pesticides, a single village does not have authority to ban the the use of pesticides. However, the mayor of Mals has accepted the result that 75% of voters wanted pesticides banned, and is
currently working on the implementation of the result. He intends to change the local village rules, prohibiting the use of pesticide in Mals. The ban will include homes, gardens and public spaces. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.pan-italia.it
Unwanted presents - pesticide residues in your Christmas dinner Over recent years, levels of pesticide residues in our food have been steadily increasing, and as much as 40% of the food we eat contains them. In this report, PAN UK Policy officer Nick Mole introduces our recently published report on residues in traditional Christmas dinner foods. In this report we take a look at pesticide residue levels in the foods that make up a traditional Christmas dinner. In doing so, we think it important that consumers are aware of unwanted pesticide residues, as well as some of the wider consequences of the overuse and over-reliance on pesticides for farming communities, wildlife and the environment. We want consumers to be able to make informed decisions about what they put on their table at Christmas.
what individual consumers can do to reduce their exposure to pesticides, along with the action we would like to see from Government, farmers and retailers to reduce the use of pesticides.
The data we have analysed to produce this report comes from the UK Government's Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF), which undertakes regular testing for residues across a wide variety of foodstuffs on sale in the UK from all around the world, and publishes its In addition the report also explains findings every quarter. The data we
have used for this report is taken from 2007 up until the most recent results at the end of 2013. The full results of the residue testing are displayed overleaf. Summary of conclusions â€˘ The incidence of pesticide residues on the different foods tested varied quite considerably. The worst offenders being orange and lemon zest, flour and apples, while turkey or duck are clear, or virtually clear, of pesticide residues. 7
Pesticides News • Some traditional Christmas dinner items are not included in the list, such as cranberries, mixed candied peel, mincemeat, salmon and pork, but information from other sources indicates concern about pesticide residues on these items.
No.97 December 2014 ethically labelled, or produced using ecologically safe pest management methods, such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). • Governments, farmers and retailers can also do more to promote and support safer and more sustainable methods to manage pests, diseases and weeds, which is entirely possible without threatening levels of crop yields or farmers incomes.
• Pesticides are designed to poison certain organisms or interfere with key biological processes. But some of these processes occur in humans as well as the pests targeted. Although only a tiny amount of pesticide may be present in each food item, more research is needed to understand the cumulative effects of our exposure to low doses over prolonged periods of time, as well as the ‘cocktail’ effect of combinations of chemicals. • The Christmas dinner pesticides causing most concern about their impact on human health, wildlife and the environment are:
Product Lemon / orange zest
% with at least one residue
% with multiple residues
Chlorpyrifos – a neurotoxic insecticide with acute and chronic toxicity for humans and harmful to bees and aquatic ecosystems.
Carbendazim – a fungicide used to control mould and rotting in harvested fruit, but linked to birth defects in humans and wildlife.
Pork (Pigs in Blankets)
Glyphosate – the worlds most widely used weedkiller increasingly linked to health problems like cancer and birth defects in humans
• Pesticide residues on food produce itself is only part of the story. Exposure to pesticides causes debilitating illness and death among farmers, farm workers and farming communities around the world, as well as damaging wildlife and the environment, sometimes being found far from where they are used, and remaining in the environment for decades. • To avoid or reduce exposure to pesticide residues, consumers should demand pesticide free produce where possible, whether it be organic, www.pan-uk.org
Milk Turkey !
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News in brief PAN International launches Call to damage. Additionally, yearly Action to make the planet a safer estimates of unintentional pesticide place poisoning of agricultural workers put the figure in the millions worldwide. Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International has issued a call to The case for safe alternatives is governments and citizens around the supported by The International world to take action to reduce and Assessment of Agricultural eliminate highly hazardous pesticides Knowledge, Science and Technology (HHP) and to support polices to (IAASTAD) who have highlighted advance a model of ecological the contributions of agroecological agriculture that can provide a practices to sustainable development. dignified living to farmers, Meanwhile, UNCTSAD’s 2013 agricultural workers, rural report Wake Up Before It Is Too Late communities and offer safe food to observes that one of the most consumers. effective ways to halve the number of hungry and poor is taking the necessary steps of transition towards more sustainable forms of agriculture that nourish the land and people and provide opportunities for decent jobs.
including PAN UK) is calling for a blanket ban on all neonicotinoid pesticides. Unfortunately, some interest groups continue to dismiss the science that shows the harmful effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on pollinators and attempt to undermine the restrictions. For example, just a day after the Global Task Force on Systemic Pesticides review concluded “clear evidence of harm sufficient to trigger regulatory response”, neonicotinoid manufacturer Syngenta applied for an ‘emergency’ exemption that would allow 186,000 hectares of neonicotinoid treated oil seed rape to be planted.
Despite overwhelming evidence of risk and harm from use of Individuals and organisations can neonicotinoids organisations such as show their support for this Call to the National Farmers Union (NFU), Action by registering their details on the Crop Protection Association the PAN International website at: (CPA) and the Government’s http://action.panna.org/p/dia/action3/ Advisory Committee on Pesticides common/public/?action_KEY=15775 (ACP) continue to argue that insufficient evidence of harm and In support of this call for action, potential reductions in yield mean the PAN has released an updated list of restrictions should be overturned. HHPs to call the attention to these dangerous chemicals. The updated In response, the Bee Coalition has list of HHPs is available at: http:// released a fact sheet addressing 10 paninternational.org/wp-content/ common myths about neonicotinoids uploads/2013/12/ and the pesticide industry, which can PAN_HHP_List_140527_F.pdf be downloaded from www.panThis call to action comes as a uk.org/files/Bee%20Coalition recognition that decades’ of --%2010%20Neonicotinoid experience have shown that, despite On first anniversary of bee%20Myths.pdf. numerous “safe use” programmes, the harming pesticides restriction, safe use of HHPs is not possible. One such myth is that there is no more action is needed to protect Concrete action by governments and evidence to show that neonicotinoids UK bees corporations towards a phase-out and are harmful to pollinators. However, ban of HHPs, to be replaced with 1st December marked the first although we acknowledge that safe, sustainable and ecological anniversary of the two-year EU-wide pollinators face a number of stressors, alternative methods of pest control, is restrictions on certain neonicotinoid evidence shows that neonicotinoids now called for. pesticides. While the restriction was can have a huge impact on pollinator an important first step, it is clear that health. The call to action also recognises further action is needed to protect UK that there is a large body of scientific The Global Task Force on pollinators by giving precedence to research and evidence linking HHPs Systemic Pesticides reviewed 800 scientific facts. One year on, the Bee to serious diseases, such as cancers, studies covering birds, animals, soil Coalition (a coalition of birth defects, endocrine disruption, and water as well as bees. The review environmental campaign groups neurotoxicity, kidney and liver concluded that the group most www.pan-uk.org
Pesticides News affected by neonicotinoids were terrestrial invertebrates, such as earthworms, followed by insect pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. They recommend a complete global phase-out, or at least a significant reduction, of neonicotinoid use.
No.97 December 2014 pesticides, giving priority to the precautionary principle.
The Government’s National Pollinator Strategy, released on 4 November 2014, contains no planned action on reducing the use of neonicotinoids. Instead, the Government is relying on the field The fact sheet also addresses the studies paid for by the pesticides myths about neonicotinoids industry. The NPS reflects that the perpetuated by the pesticide industry Government still fails to accept and certain big farming interests, such European neonicotinoid risk as: assessments based on robust, peerreviewed science and there is still • All the evidence on bees has little indication of how it will ensure been from lab studies, which do sufficient change is achieved to not reflect what happens in the reverse pollinator declines. real world • Farmers need neonicotinoids
include provisions to ban chemicals that are shown to be EDCs. But this will only happen if there is agreement on how to define the criteria that decide if a chemical is an EDC. There has been a major lobby fight at EU level over how to decide on these criteria, with the Pesticide industry heavily involved in delaying the process, and in forcing the Commission to do an impact assessment on what should be a scientific decision. The documentary film Endocrination is well worth watching to learn more about what has been happening, see www.edcfree-europe.org/new-documentaryfilm-endocrination/
After much in-fighting & unhelpful intervention from the Commission’s • The varroa mite is the primary Secretariat General (President cause of bee decline Barroso’s department), the EU • Neonicotinoid seed treatments Commission finally released a This article, by Dr Michael are better for wildlife because consultation on how the criteria for Warhurst, Executive Director of they are more targeted than EDCs should be chosen at the end of CHEM Trust, is to let you know that pesticide sprays October. However, the consultation you have an opportunity, which will only take two minutes of your time, to only focusses on the costs to industry, • The plant protection industry is not on the benefits of getting EDCs tell the EU to take action against being held to a ‘higher standard off the market. of proof’ than the rest of modern some of the worst pesticides, that is those with hormone disrupting life We know that the pesticide chemicals. industry and others are working to • The likely loss of ‘crop Hormone (or Endocrine) disrupting mobilise lots of responses to this protection products’ resulting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals that consultation, claiming that action on from EU regulations will mean EDCs will have massive impacts on can disrupt the functioning of the 35,000-40,000 job losses EU agriculture. hormonal systems of humans or wildlife. These sensitive systems • The likely loss of ‘crop It was clear that we needed to help affect many aspects of our growth protection products’ due to EU the public have their say in this and development – for more regulations will result in lower consultation, so the EDC free yields, ranging from 4-50%, and information see CHEM Tust’s new coalition of civil society groups, FAQ - www.chemtrust.org.uk/ revenue losses at £1.73bn. which CHEM Trust is a member of, hormone-disrupting-chemicals-edcshave now launched an on-line tool • It is the EU’s moral duty to make faq/ - the Endocrine Society and the that makes it easy for people to ask full use of pesticides to maximise International POPS Elimination for action on EDCs in this agricultural output, to help feed Network have also launched a new consultation (in 7 languages): the 842 million people in the scientific report on EDCs, see www.no2hormonedisruptingchemical world who lack enough to eat. www.endocrine.org/news-room/ s.org By dispelling these common myths current-press-releases/new-resourceon-health-threats-posed-byPlease do this action yourself, and about neonicotinoids and presenting endocrine-disrupting-chemicalspromote it to everyone you know – the scientific facts, we hope that the released remember the consultation closes on UK Government will strengthen and 16th January!! review its actions to protect The current EU regulations for pollinators from the threat of permitting pesticides and biocides Of course, this consultation is only www.pan-uk.org
EU Commission starts a consultation on how to define hormone disrupting chemicals
Pesticides News one step on the road towards the EU finalising these criteria & getting endocrine disrupting chemicals off the market. The new Commission, headed up by President Juncker, is heavily focused on “growth and jobs”, and business lobbies are successfully managing to paint environmental regulation as in opposition to this agenda – in spite of the fact that good environmental regulations actually help innovation & ensure that EU industry & agriculture is focussed on the future, not the past. Over the coming months and years we will all need to work to counter the massive lobbying from the pesticide & chemical producer industries. We and wildlife are all being exposed to these hazardous chemicals – they need to be taken off the market. To keep in touch with the campaign & join in with other actions as they emerge, see:
No.97 December 2014 has had there has been no official recognition or compensation paid to the victims. Read more on Andy Burnham’s call for an enquiry here - www.panuk.org/news/pan-uk-supports-callfor-public-inquiry-into-sheep-dippoisonings
--Bhopal - the fight for justice continues thirty years on December marks the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal tragedy when the Union Carbide pesticide factory in the city began leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate. Half a million people were exposed to the gas and an estimated 25,000 have died to date as a result of their exposure, while many more people still suffer from ailments caused by the accident and the subsequent pollution at the plant site.
According to the Bhopal Medical Appeal, an estimated 120,000 to www.chemtrust.org.uk, and www.edc- 150,000 survivors still struggle with free-europe.org - the joint campaign serious medical conditions including web site nerve damage, growth problems, gynecological disorders, respiratory --issues, birth defects, and elevated rates of cancer and tuberculosisThese PAN UK Supports call for public include cancers, TB, menstrual inquiry into sheep dip poisonings disorders and birth defects. PAN UK has welcomed the call by The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds Shadow Secretary of State for Health, two clinics in Bhopal, India, offering Andy Burnham, for a public inquiry into the issue of organphosphate (OP) first class free health care to anybody affected by the 1984 Bhopal Gas sheep dip poisoning suffered by Disaster, including those thousands of sheep farmers and their families. people drinking water still PAN UK hopes that the contaminated with toxic chemicals. government will take heed of this call Find out more at http://bhopal.org/ and initiate a properly independent, transparent inquiry into the issue of OP poisoning. Across the UK many hundreds of farmers and their families have gone through years of suffering as a result of their exposure to OPs. The suffering of these farmers and their families continues to this day and despite solid evidence showing a causal link between their exposure and the health effects this www.pan-uk.org
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Can you help support the vital work of PAN UK? Donate online You can donate to PAN UK online at: www.justgiving.com/pesticideactionnetworkuk
Donate by Standing Order To: Bank/Building Society___________________________ Address_______________________________________________________ Account No___________________________ Sort Code___________________________ Commencing on the__________________ Please pay the sum of _______ and repeat this each month/quarter/year to : PAN UK, Ac/No.6501 0734 00, Sort Code: 08 02 28. Name: ___________________________ Address: ____________________________________________________________ Postcode: __________
Donate by Cheque Please make cheques payable to Pesticides Action Network UK and send them to:
Pesticides Action Network UK, The Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD Gift aid declaration Please treat as Gift Aid donations all qualifying gifts of money made □ today □ in the future Please tick all boxes you wish to apply. I confirm I have paid or will pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year (6 April to 5 April) that is at least equal to the amount of tax that all the charities or Community Amateur Sports Clubs that I donate to will reclaim on my gifts for that tax year. I understand that other taxes such as VAT and Council Tax do not qualify. I understand the charity will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 that I give. Name: ___________________________ Address: ____________________________________________________________ Postcode: __________ Signature___________________________ Date ________________ Please notify PAN UK if you: Want to cancel this declaration Change your name or home address No longer pay sufficient tax on your income and/or capital gains. If you pay Income Tax at the higher or additional rate and want to receive the additional tax relief due to you, you must include all your Gift Aid donations on your Self Assessment tax return or ask HM Revenue and Customs to adjust your tax code.