Pesticides News The journal of Pesticide Action Network UK An international perspective on the health and environmental effects of pesticides
No.98 February 2015
The use of homemade coffee berry borer traps like this one in Nicaragua are among the alternative methods of pest control being used effectively by coffee farmers to replace the use of the hazardous pesticide endosulfan. (Photo: PAN UK)
In this edition • Hormone disrupting chemicals: A disruption in the EU political arena • Phasing out Highly Hazardous Pesticides: action with supply chains
• Eating Organic Produce Can Limit Pesticide Exposure • London’s pollinators: Creating a buzz in the capital • Growing Coffee without Endosulfan: experiences with biopesticides for managing Coffee Berry Borer
No.98 February 2015
Hormone disrupting chemicals: A disruption in the EU political arena Since when did economic profit become the deciding factor in protecting human and environmental health, asks PAN Europe's Environmental Toxicologist Angeliki Lysimachou, in the light of the European Commission's handling of proposed regulation of endocrine disrupting chemicals. For more than 15 years the EU has recognised that some man-made chemicals found in our food, water and the environment have endocrine disrupting properties and pose a threat to human and environmental health1. The process of regulating these substances has been challenging not only because of the complex mode of action of these chemicals but also due to “conflicts of interests”; in other words, banning these chemicals from the market will cause profit-loss to the industry sector. The influence of the industry is so strong in the European political arena, that regulators are now evaluating the economic impact of such a ban before they take a final decision. But when did economic profit start being the “deciding factor” to protect human and environmental health?
endocrine-related disorders such as reproductive failure, reproductive organ deformities and cancer, diminished fertility, altered sex differentiation, metabolic disorders (e.g. obesity and diabetes in mammals), immune dysfunction and cognitive impairment among others. Wrong programming
What makes these chemicals particularly problematic is that they mimic/disrupt the role of hormones that are naturally present in very small concentrations. Thus, a very tiny amount of an EDC, similar to the levels we find in the food and environment, is sufficient to trigger an effect. When the wrong hormonal signals are sent during the early-life stages of development, a whole erroneous cascade of events is triggered and the “wrong Hormonal interference programming” is set that becomes permanent and will inevitably result Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in disease and dysfunction later in (EDCs) are biologically active life. This means that foetuses chemicals of diverse origin and uses (exposed in the womb through their that interfere with the hormonal pregnant mothers), babies and system of animal species, including humans. They are found in industrial children, are the most vulnerable to EDC exposure. Exposure of adults to chemicals, plastic components, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, biocides EDCs may result in different effects etc. and are also used as pesticides in or no effects at all due to the adult agriculture that can end up as residues organism’s capacity to “correct” the alterations. Therefore these chemicals in our food. The hormones can be neither follow the rule of “the dose seen as a network of chemical makes the poison” nor can they be messengers that circulate across the assessed with the classic risk body and transfer the necessary assessment testing that mostly uses “information” to specific organs to regulate their function and adult animals to determine “safe” development. Very small amounts of levels of exposure. EDCs are capable of interfering with There are still great uncertainties or “disrupting” the natural action of regarding the diseases triggered by hormones, pass the wrong EDCs and the underlying “messages” to specific organs and mechanisms of action, thus it is not result in alterations in morphology, always possible to establish a link physiology, growth, reproduction, between exposure to EDCs and development and behaviour. Such disease. In such circumstances, where changes have been linked to www.pan-uk.org
dangers to human and environmental health have been detected but scientific data is incomplete to permit the full evaluation of the risk and employ safety measures, the EU has to apply the “precautionary principle” and stop the production and distribution of, in this case, EDCs to avoid further potential damage. Precautionary principle The Plant Protection Products Regulation EC 1107/2009 (PPPR)2, put into force in 2011 to regulate pesticides, is the first legislation to apply the precautionary principle on EDCs and introduce “hazard-based cut-off” criteria, i.e. any pesticide with EDC properties is regarded as a hazard and must be banned (hence the wording “cut-off”). This approach is also adopted in the case of genotoxic and mutagenic compounds. Since pesticide residues are found in our food, deciding against the use of endocrine disrupting pesticides is certainly a wise move. EDC “cut-off” criteria were also incorporated later in the Biocide Product Regulation EU 528/2012 (BPR)3, which was put into force in 2013. Back in 2009, the European Council and European Parliament approved the Pesticide Regulation’s “cut-off” criteria for EDCs4. Ironically the Pesticide and Biocide Regulations were put into force before defining the criteria to identify EDCs. This task was first given to the Environment Directorate (DG ENVI) of the European Commission. Although a first draft on the EDC criteria was ready in 2013, which supported the precautionary approach, DG ENVI did not present the criteria by the December 2013 deadline. DG ENVI has since stopped being the leading Directorate on 2
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EDC-criteria. So what happened?
confusing in such way the general Ironically, when the toxicologists that public, regulators and non-specialists. had composed the letter were invited Manufacturing doubt to the Commission, they failed to Conflicts of interest The fact that several EDCs would support their opinion. But the damage have to be removed from the market Following the industry lobbying, was already done, and all the brought reactions in the other the Commission Directorates of extensive research on EDCs was Commission Directorates and the human and consumer health (DG suddenly under question. The industry sector that triggered a Sante), Enterprise (DG Enterprise), industry had succeeded to halt the different kind of “cascade of events”. Trade (DG Trade) and Secretary process. Instead of the criteria on In such cases the usual approach of General together with the European EDCs, the Secretary General of the the industry is to manufacture doubt Food and Safety Agency (EFSA) Commission called for an impact on the evidence - look for example at started putting pressure to recognise assessment8, with the argument that the case of the tobacco industry in the EDCs as non-hazardous chemicals “if Europe is the first to ban these 50s and 60s, insisting on the lack of and abandon the “cut-off” criteria chemicals, the economic impact solid scientific evidence that tobacco approach - this means that exposure should be evaluated”. The lead was causes lung cancer. Here, the to small quantities can be permitted. given to DG SANTE and an interagricultural industry composed On the top of this, on June 2013, a service consultation opened for all the reports claiming that far too many group of 18 toxicologists - 17 of other DGs with an interest. pesticides would be identified as which were later proven to have Thus, in June 2014, six months EDCs with the Pesticides Regulation conflicts of interest due to their ties to after the deadline to present the and draft criteria, causing a the industry - published an open letter criteria, the Commission published a “catastrophic” loss in agricultural written to the Chief Scientific “Roadmap”9 instead presenting the production and economy (PAN Advisor of the European Commission different criteria and decision-making Europe Impact Assessment Annex accusing the Commission of being options considered by regulators, III)5. The reports include irrational over-precautionary and against wellincluding “safe levels”, “potency”, statements such as that Europe will established science and risk risk assessment and socio-economic face hunger and will be excluded assessment6. This letter was elements - all against the original from international trade due to its immediately strongly criticised by “cut-off” criteria of the Pesticide strict regulations. These reports have experts in endocrinology including Regulation. Next, the Commission major flaws as they totally ignore the The Endocrine Society, due to the launched a public consultation that Sustainable Use Directive that aims misleading information it provided on received 27,000 replies that will now to restrict or prohibit the use of endocrine disruption research7. pesticides in Europe anyway. According to the Directive all member states must apply the Integrated Pest Management approach from January 2014, and must give priority to those methods, “which cause the least disruption to agricultural ecosystems and encourage natural pest control mechanisms”. None of the industry reports considered the replacement of EDC pesticides with the existing nonchemical or even chemical alternatives, which is required by law and consequently their baseline for comparison is wrong. In parallel, industry research institutes started claiming that chocolate and vitamin D also affect the endocrine system, mixing up the terms of endocrine function with endocrine disruption, www.pan-uk.org
Summary diagram: Assessment of pesticides for endocrine disrupting properties by PAN Europe. The EC is considering different options to define endocrine disrupting chemicals for regulatory purposes (provided in the Roadmap). The Regulation requires the ban of pesticides with endocrine disrupting properties that may cause adverse effects. PAN Europe has carried out an assessment of pesticides for endocrine disrupting properties based on the regulation requirements (PPPR 1107/2009) and compared it to the assessment of using the criteria proposed by the Commission in the different options of the Roadmap.
Pesticides News have to evaluate before it conducts the impact assessment. This process, which ignores the science behind endocrine disruption, will delay the decision on EDC criteria and consequently our exposure to these chemicals will continue for several years. Science fiction In the meantime, PAN Europe undertook research to evaluate which pesticides would be banned according to the Pesticides Regulation and which ones are likely to be banned according to the Commission's options, using all scientific literature, including academic literature and industry studies. The study concluded that 31 pesticides should be banned following the Pesticides Regulation, but in practice the Commission, following the options considered for the criteria and regulatory decisionmaking, will ban seven, four or zero pesticides10. For all these pesticides there are both non-chemical and chemical alternatives and it’s very unlikely that their ban will result in any economic or yield losses. On the contrary, the results would be beneficial, by applying alternative methods to pesticides and reducing human and environmental exposure to EDCs. This contradicts considerably the industry’s reports claiming that the Commission is planning to ban more than 100 pesticides, which will destroy agricultural economy and food production. Clearly, industry’s arguments are based on “sciencefiction” to scare the regulators and general public. It’s important to highlight that the Pesticide Regulation aims to protect human health and the environment and therefore, an impact assessment should consider all the benefits of the Regulation towards human and environmental health. Indeed, in 2008, before the approval of the Pesticide Regulation, MILIEU Ltd www.pan-uk.org
No.98 February 2015 completed an extensive impact assessment on the benefits of the “cut-off” criteria of the Pesticide Regulation, upon request by the European Parliament11. Both the European Parliament and Council approved the “cut-off” criteria to provide protection to human health from exposure to these chemicals. Therefore, we already have an impact assessment on the Pesticide Regulation. Politics-based science What the Commission is requesting now, is an impact assessment to decide what definition we will give to these chemicals to fit the regulatory procedures and avoid economic losses. Instead of having “science-based” politics, we get “politics-based” science. However, an economic impact assessment will neglect any benefits that are not translated to monetary values, such as the ones of a clean and healthy environment, protection of biodiversity and soil erosion or how we will save money from the diseases that we will not have. Thus, it appears that the industry’s economic losses will determine what are EDCs and whether the new generations will develop endocrine related diseases. This is just another example of the strong industry lobbying deciding on what harmful chemicals we will be exposed to.
3. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/ LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do? uri=OJ:L:2012:167:0001:0123:EN:P DF 4. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP// TEXT+IM-PRESS +20090112IPR45936+0+DOC+XML +V0//EN 5. pan-europe.info/Resources/Other/ impact_assessment_ed/ IMPACT_ASSESSMENT_ANNEX_ III.docx 6. http://link.springer.com/ article/10.1007%2Fs00204-013-1117 -2 7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/23981490 8. http://pan-europe.info/Resources/ Other/impact_assessment_ed/Panic %20mail%20of%20Testori%20to %20Servoz%20SG%20March %201%202013%20page%205%20%206.pdf 9. http://ec.europa.eu/smartregulation/impact/planned_ia/ docs/2014_env_009_endocrine_disru ptors_en.pdf 10. http://www.disruptingfood.info/ en/what-we-do 11. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ RegData/etudes/etudes/ join/2008/408559/IPOL-JOIN_ET %282008%29408559_EN.pdf
Further information Read more about PAN Europe's work on EDCs at: www.disruptingfood.info Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org --References 1. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ chemicals/endocrine/strategy/ being_en.htm 2. https://www.eppo.int/ PPPRODUCTS/ information/2009_1107_EU-e.pdf 4
No.98 February 2015
Phasing out Highly Hazardous Pesticides: action with supply chains PAN UK Staff Scientist Stephanie Williamson explains how the PAN International Highly Hazardous Pesticide List is helping the phase out of the most harmful pesticides from supply chains. Since the 1980s a number of international conventions and guidelines have been adopted to tackle the adverse effects of pesticide use in agriculture on human health and the environment. However, these initiatives have been successful only to a limited extent, especially in developing countries, and the “safe use” training approach to highly hazardous pesticides has been questioned increasingly by NGOs, scientists, governmental representatives, UN agencies and the private sector1. In recent years more focus has been put on reducing pesticide hazards, as well as risks, as policy makers recognise that poor management of chemicals remains a serious problem and that use is increasing in many countries. Numerous private voluntary standards in global food, fibre, forestry and flower supply chains, such as Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Forestry Stewardship Council, Utz Certified and 4C Coffee, have developed their own prohibited or restricted lists for specific pesticides, as have some of the leading supermarkets in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. UN agencies start to address Highly Hazardous Pesticides In 2006 the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM, a multi-stakeholder global programme involving governments, industry and civil society), at its first International Conference on Chemicals Management, recognised the need to reduce the use of and risk from highly hazardous pesticides and replace them with safer alternatives2. In 2007 the UN’s Food and Agriculture (FAO) and World Health (WHO) Organisations launched the www.pan-uk.org
Highly Hazardous Pesticide (HHP) initiative, calling for actions to reduce risks associated with their use, including what they term a ‘progressive ban on highly hazardous pesticides’. This refers to national or regional regulatory banning, over time, of different pesticides identified as highly hazardous, as well as voluntary, step-by-step phase-outs of selected HHPs by individual food companies or private standards. The definition of HHPs in the recently updated International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management2 is: Highly Hazardous Pesticides means pesticides that are acknowledged to present particularly high levels of acute or chronic hazards to health or environment according to internationally accepted classification systems such as WHO or GHS or their listing in relevant binding international agreements or conventions. In addition, pesticides that appear to cause severe or irreversible harm to health or the environment under conditions of use in a country may be considered to be and treated as highly hazardous. This definition makes it clear that it is not just pesticides with acute toxicity to humans, based on the wellknown WHO Classes, that are coming under the spotlight, but a range of longer term health effects, as well as serious hazards to organisms which provide vital ecosystem services such as pollination, nutrient recycling and natural pest control. PAN International list of HHPs Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International strongly welcomed this UN initiative and as a contribution developed the first PAN International Highly Hazardous Pesticide List in
2009, based on a comprehensive set of hazard criteria, used by recognised authorities, such as the EU and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The PAN HHP List hazard criteria include: • pesticides featured on the Stockholm POP and Rotterdam PIC Conventions and the Montreal Protocol on protecting the ozone layer (methyl bromide); • the two most hazardous WHO Classes (Ia and Ib) for acute mammalian toxicity; • operator inhalation toxicity (not assessed in the WHO classification); • known or probable carcinogens, reproductive toxins and mutagens and those with endocrine disrupting properties; • very high persistence in soil, sediment or water; • bioaccumulation up the food chain; and • high ecotoxicity to bees and aquatic invertebrates. The PAN HHP List has been 5
Pesticides News updated several times and the latest version (June 2014) contains 296 pesticide active ingredients or related groups3.
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food companies and standards identify which HHPs are in use in their supply chains and then to work to replace them with safer When the persistent organochlorine alternatives, with preference to nonGlobal concern about HHPs insecticide endosulfan was added to chemical methods. At least three increases the Stockholm POP and Rotterdam progressive retailers in the EU and PIC Conventions in 2011, challenges The SAICM conference in 2012 the US are starting to integrate HHP and concerns about phasing out saw a proposal for “a progressive ban criteria into their company-specific global use of this still widely used on HHPs and their substitution with lists, whether for prohibition, medium pesticide were voiced, especially in safer alternatives”, supported by at term phase-out or some level of the cotton and coffee growing sectors. least 65 countries and organisations4. restriction or monitoring. Several of The Stockholm Convention panel of Subsequent regional SAICM the sustainability standards are in the scientists came up with a list of 110 meetings, involving around 145 process of revising their pesticide possible chemical substitutes for countries, have reiterated concern lists and propose to include chronic endosulfan. Unfortunately, 80 of about HHPs and called for more health or some of the environmental these were then identified as either information on ecosystem-based hazard criteria on the PAN HHP List potential POPs or HHPs in their own alternatives to HHPs. At SAICM’s for the first time. GlobalGAP, right (according to the hazard criteria Open-Ended Working Group in however, is one of the standards that selected by PAN International)6. December 2014, following a still do not have any requirement on technical briefing on HHPs and a call This demonstrates the importance growers to prohibit or restrict use of by the entire African region for a of not simply substituting with a hazardous pesticides. global alliance to phase-out HHPs, a different chemical - which might Prioritise action on selected HHPs new proposal has been agreed, to be have different hazards - but of developed at the fourth International looking at non-chemical methods as Some HHPs are in widespread use, Conference on Chemical the first priority. The 2013 Stockholm such as the insecticide chlorpyrifos Management in September 2015. Convention Conference of the Parties and the fungicide chlorothalonil, and (the decision-making stage by it would be challenging to To mark the annual International signatory governments) decided that immediately take these out of use Day of No Pesticides Use (3rd priority should be given to without intensive farming support in December, in commemoration of the ecosystem-based approaches to pest alternatives. PAN is working to raise Bhopal pesticide factory disaster in management in replacing awareness about HHPs and to work India) in 2014, PAN International 7 endosulfan . This is the first time a with supply chains to prioritise action launched a global campaign calling UN chemicals convention has made on selected HHPs, based on criteria on governments and corporations to such a recommendation and it is seen agreed jointly with the company or take concrete steps towards a phaseas an important step in recognising standard in consultation with its out and ban of HHPs, to be replaced that there is a better way of managing suppliers. Pilot projects then explore with safe, sustainable and ecological pests and producing food. how to reduce and phase out cropalternative methods of pest control5. specific uses by introducing To date, over 180 civil society Food companies and sustainability additional or improved IPM organisations from 62 countries have standards are adopting the HHP alternatives. Activities may cover: signed up, from all global regions.. approach • finding out which IPM methods Giving preference to ecological The HHP initiative is certainly not are already used successfully by those alternatives limited to governmental policy growers able to do without a specific making. The International Code of Integral to the HHP approach is HHP in their production context; Conduct calls on stakeholders, recognizing the need to phase in safer including the pesticide industry, the • sharing experiences; alternatives, as part of reducing and food industry, farmers and farmer phasing out HHPs. The original • supporting more growers to organisations and public interest SAICM document in its section on expand their IPM toolkit; groups to develop plans of action for ‘Highly toxic pesticides - risk • trying out promising new tackling problems associated with management and reduction’ methods with growers; HHPs. recommends action to ‘promote • exploring how purchasing development and use of reduced-risk PAN UK promotes the PAN HHP pesticides and substitution for highly List as a decision making tool to help practices or cosmetic quality www.pan-uk.org
toxic pesticides as well as effective and non-chemical alternative means of pest control”.
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requirements could be made more flexible to deliver measured reduction in pesticide use and residues. Prohibiting specific HHPs can kick-start a move to ecologicallybased IPM alternatives. Experiences collected by PAN UK in 2013 with 4C in the coffee sector show how farmers certified under standards, such as Fair Trade, which have prohibited the insecticide endosulfan for several years now, have been able to replace its use for managing Coffee Berry Borer with a range of biological, physical and cultural controls and reduced or zero insecticide use. As a result, many farmers are able to gain from better quality or access to more rewarding markets, in addition to no longer The use of homemade coffee berry borer traps like this one in Nicaragua are among worrying about the very real risk of the alternative methods of pest control being used effectively by coffee farmers to poisoning for farm workers and replace the use of endosulfan. (Photo: PAN UK) wildlife. --Contact: email@example.com Further information The PAN International HHP List is available at: http:// paninternational.org/wp-content/ uploads/2013/12/ PAN_HHP_List_140527_F.pdf
Chemicals Management. SAICM texts and resolutions of the International Conference on Chemicals Management. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 2006. 3. http://paninternational.org/wpcontent/uploads/2013/12/ PAN_HHP_List_140527_F.pdf
4. Draft resolution on Highly hazardous pesticides: submission by References Antigua & Barbuda, Armenia, 1. Stop Pesticide Poisonings! A time Bhutan, Dominican Republic, Egypt, travel through international pesticide Guyana, International Trade Union policies. PAN Germany, 2014. http:// Congress, IPEN, Iraq, Kenya, www.pan-germany.org/download/ Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, stop_pesticide_poisonings_141002.p Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, df Pesticide Action Network, Republic 2. Strategic Approach to International of Moldova, St Lucia, Tanzania,
Tunisia and Zambia. SAICM/ ICCM.3/CRP.16. 5. http://action.panna.org/p/dia/ action3/common/public/? action_KEY=15775 6. Alternatives to endosulfan: adopt agroecology, not potential POPs or HHPs. PAN International briefing for Stockholm Convention Conference of the Parties, May 2013. Via: http:// www.panna.org/sites/default/files/ PAN_STATEMENT_ON_POPs_201 3_F-1.pdf 7. UNEP-POPS-COP.6-SC-6-8. Via: http://chm.pops.int/TheConvention/ ConferenceoftheParties/Meetings/ COP6/
News in brief Eating Organic Produce Can Limit Washington University. Pesticide Exposure The study is among the first to People who eat organic produce may predict adult exposures to have lower levels of some pesticides organophosphate pesticides based on in their bodies than people who eat people's usual diets, the researchers similar amounts of conventionally said. grown fruits and veggies, according Scientists studied nearly 4,500 to a new study by scientists at www.pan-uk.org
people from six cities in the United States, and collected dietary information, including the types and amounts of produce eaten in the past year and how often participants ate organic foods. The researchers estimated pesticide exposure by comparing typical intake of specific 7
Pesticides News food items with average pesticide residue levels for those items. To check their estimates, the scientists compared the calculated pesticide exposures to the levels of breakdown products from pesticides excreted in the urine of a subset of participants. When matched on produce intake, people who reported eating organic fruits and veggies at least occasionally had significantly lower levels of pesticide residue in their urine than people who almost always ate conventionally grown produce. The report is available at: http:// ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1408197/ Londonâ€™s pollinators: Creating a buzz in the capital Capital Bee has recently published a report aimed at informing a conversation on developing a coordinated set of activities to promote and protect Londonâ€™s pollinators that may be adopted by a range of bodies and organisations. Drawing together policy and practice from UK national and London levels, the report explores how best to ensure that pollinators can thrive in London.
No.98 February 2015 Existing opportunities for making significant progress are highlighted, as well as areas in need of more action. The report asks: how do we best monitor pollinator populations and record a baseline from which increases or declines can be measured? Noting the recent surge in the number of managed colonies of bees, the report explores how the potential challenges this may present can be tackled, whilst making the most of the informed and engaged community of beekeepers. You can download a copy of the report at: www.sustainweb.org/ resources/files/reports/ LondonsPollinators.pdf Growing Coffee without Endosulfan: experiences with biopesticides for managing Coffee Berry Borer (CBB)
PAN UK is presenting a series of webinars in collaboration with 4C Coffee Association looking at Integrated Pest Management practices to control the important Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) pest, as an alternative to using the highly hazardous pesticide Endosulfan. This second in the series The report looks at how land use in of webinars aims to share practical experiences of coffee farmers, in the capital can be managed and improved to address issues as diverse managing CBB with biopesticides, as health, conservation, pollution and and will be presented seperately in environmental management; and how English and Spanish. these could contribute to helping to English create a more colourful city in which Tuesday 24 February 2015 at 10 am both people and pollinators can (Geneva time: UTC/GMT+1 hour) thrive.
To register: https://brswebinars.webex.com/brs-webinars/ k2/j.php? MTID=t490540f8b97c64509bf6ba8c 2684ec66 Spanish Thursday 26 February 2015 at 4 pm (Geneva time: UTC/GMT+1 hour) To register: https://brswebinars.webex.com/brs-webinars/ k2/j.php? MTID=t38a9c8a08f62b83a02ab3ef1 a4009840 For further information on growing coffee without endosulfan, visit: http://www.4c-coffeeassociation.org/ document-library/documents.html#2
No.98 February 2015
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