EU approves tougher regulations on pesticides

The environment committee of the European Union on September 12 approved amendments of a draft regulation intended to update its existing law on the authorisation of new pesticide products.

The amendment aims to improve protection of health and the environment, support farming, reduce animal testing and boost competition among pesticide manufacturers. It will revise the criteria and procedures for approving pesticides and prepare a positive list of "active substances' (the key ingredients of pesticides), which will then be authorised at national level.

Overriding the European Commission's suggestion to divide the eu into three geographical zones for pesticide authorisation, the committee preferred a single eu-wide system for member nations. The nations will now reserve the right to confirm, reject or restrict approval depending on their national circumstances. The committee agreed, however, to ban substances that are genotoxic, carcinogenic, toxic to reproduction or endocrine disrupting, and added substances with hormonal, neurotoxic or immunotoxic effects to the banned category.