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Brussels, 25 October 2018 – Representatives from European Member States in the EU Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCOPAFF) yesterday voted in favour of another extension for the approval of the chemical chlorpyrifos. A final decision on the authorisation renewal of the substance is now expected for the second half of 2019.

The extension is not a yet a decision on the final renewal of chlorpyrifos, but a mechanism that postpones the expiry date of approval for the current license of the active substance on the European market. If during the year a decision on the non-renewal is taken, the extension of the approval is to be revoked. 

Over 135,000 people have backed a rapidly growing petition launched last week calling for a complete ban of chlorpyrifos to protect children’s health [1].

Evidence is increasing on how chlorpyrifos is linked to a number of health issues including hormonal and neurological disorders,” says Genon Jensen, Executive Director at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL). Yesterday, researchers [2] called for a ban on the entire class of organophosphate pesticides, to which chlorpyrifos belongs, to reduce exposures for pregnant women and their developing babies. “Surely, this should increase the urgency for swift EU action to speed up the assessment report and reap the public health benefits from removing chlorpyrifos from the market.

HEAL is urging the Rapporteur for this evaluation, Spain, to allocate sufficient means to speed up its draft assessment report and for Member States to swiftly deliver final assessment report after the peer-review process, allowing EFSA to then publish its opinion and the European Commission to proceed with a draft answer to the ongoing renewal application. 

Chlorpyrifos is one of the most commonly used pesticides in Europe and its residues are often present in fruits, vegetables, cereals and dairy products, as well as drinking water. It is linked to the disruption of the hormonal system and effects on the developing human brain. Studies show how children exposed to chlorpyrifos in the womb or in early life may suffer from neurodevelopmental effects later in life, like attention deficit disorders (ADHD) and autism. [3]. 

Contact:

Sophie Perroud, Policy Coordinator at HEAL, sophie@env-health,org, tel.: +32 (0)2 234 36 43.

Notes for editor:

[1] The petition was launched by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), SumOfUs, Générations Futures, Ecologistas en Acción, and the European and German branches of the Pesticide Action Network: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/chlorpyrifos

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/24/entire-pesticide-class-should-be-banned-for-effect-on-childrens-health?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other 

[3] View the factsheet produced by HEAL, Pesticide Action Network Europe, Générations Futures and Pesticide Action Network Germany (August 2018): https://www.env-health.org/eu-should-ban-brain-harming-chlorpyrifos-to-protect-health/