European Commission warned against approving “notoriously toxic” Propyzamide pesticide in crops
12 Jul 2022 --- Pesticide Action Network (PAN) – a coalition of 600 NGOs, citizen groups and individuals from 60 countries – is calling for the European Commission (EC) to change its course and not call tomorrow for farmers to keep using what they catalog as “notoriously toxic” pesticide Propyzamide, in the next years.
The coalition says the pesticide “should have been banned six years ago”. Instead, the substance was re-approved under the condition that confirmatory information on its toxicity would be submitted later.
“This practice of asking for confirmatory information is a standard procedure for re-approving toxic substances. It is not in line with the Pesticides regulation, which limits it to specific and exceptional conditions. Propyzamide did not meet any of these conditions,” explains Salomé Roynel, policy officer at PAN Europe.
EFSA analysis “inconclusive”
PAN explains that when confirmatory information was submitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) the experts from the body deemed the data on the pesticide as “inconclusive”.
“The submitted confirmatory information is not sufficient to address the data gap raised by EFSA regarding the genotoxicity potential of some metabolites and the risk for consumers,” underscores Paulina Cervan, toxicologist at Générations Futures.
“Worse, the information submitted confirmed the risk of leaching of some metabolites in groundwater at concentration levels above the drinking water limits, which is a reason sufficient to the withdrawal of Propyzamide,” she continues.
The EFSA analysis on the pesticide reported that based on the realized in vitro and in vivo genotoxicity tests, it was considered as having “no genotoxic potential to humans.” However, the body admitted some data gaps in human analysis.
“The European Commission is legally required, on the basis of this confirmatory information, to concede that Propyzamide does not meet the approval criteria and to propose its withdrawal. But it proposes the opposite,” adds Cervan.
One of the most common toxic pesticides
According to PAN, Propyzamide is one of the most frequently found toxic pesticides in European-grown fruits and vegetables and it’s on their list of 12 pesticides that should be banned immediately.
“Propyzamide is only the tip of the iceberg – the Commission and member states are repeatedly abusing this backdoor to keep very toxic substances on the market at the expense of consumers’ safety,” highlights Roynel.
This prompted the organization to send a letter to the EC and to all member states urging for a speedy ban on the pesticide.
The EC last month unveiled plans to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030.
Titanium dioxide controversy
This past June, another EC ruling came into the spotlight when Canada deemed titanium dioxide (E171) safe to consume, clashing with an EU ban for the same product.
Titanium dioxide, also referred to as TiO2, is an artificial whitening colorant used in foods, was found to be safe by the Canadian authorities; this led to manufacturers of the colorant to call for a re-examination of the EFSA 2021 opinion that led to the ban.
In the case of TiO2, the European authorities opted to ban the artificial whitener even after an inconclusive study.
“Due mainly to uncertainties concerning the safety of TiO2 nanoparticles, the panel concluded that TiO2 as a food additive (E171) could no longer be considered safe,” said the report.
By Marc Cervera
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