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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) today announced having requested the right to intervene in a legal challenge recently launched against the non-renewal of pesticide active substance chlorpyrifos-methyl at the European Court of Justice [1].

On 6th December 2019, a qualified majority of European Member States voted in favour of the non-renewal of two pesticide active substances chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl. These substances belong to the same organophosphate family, have similar toxicological profiles and exhibit the same mechanism of action. The implementing regulations were published in the EU Official Journal on 10th January 2020 [2]. On 10th February 2020, a legal action was brought by two agrichemical companies challenging the non-renewal of chlorpyrifos-methyl.

Concerns about chlorpyrifos-methyl relate to developmental neurotoxicity as well as the potential to cause DNA damage (genotoxicity). Two EFSA statements have supported these concerns and concluded that the approval criteria for human health outlined in the European legislation on pesticides were not fulfilled [3].

Natacha Cingotti, senior health and chemicals policy officer at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) said: “Today, enough well-founded scientific concerns exist about the effects of chlorpyrifos-methyl on human health to take protective action, including negative impacts for brain development and the potential to damage DNA, not small things.

The European Commission and Member States decision took a health-first approach by not granting renewal for both chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl. It is the only way to prevent regrettable substitution and truly protect future generations from unwanted harm.”

HEAL, together with the support of its members and partners, had been advocating for the non-renewal of both forms of chlorpyrifos for several years [4].

Contact: 

Natacha Cingotti, Senior Health and Chemicals Policy Officer at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), natacha@env-health.org

Notes to the editor:

[1] Case T-77/20, Ascenza Agro and Industrias Afrasa v Commission, legal action brought on 10th February 2020 http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=225481&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1784169

[2] The vote took place at the Standing Committee on Plants, Food and Feed, on 6th December 2019. The decisions were published in the Official journal on 10th January 2020.

  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/18 of 10 January 2020 concerning the non-renewal of the approval of the active substance chlorpyrifos, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending the Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg_impl/2020/18/oj
  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/17 of 10 January 2020 concerning the non-renewal of the approval of the active substance chlorpyrifos-methyl, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending the Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?toc=OJ%3AL%3A2020%3A007%3ATOC&uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2020.007.01.0011.01.ENG

[3] EFSA, Statement on the available outcomes of the human health assessment in the context of the pesticides peer review of the active substance chlorpyrifos-methyl, 31st July 2019, https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/5810

EFSA, Updated statement on the available outcomes of the human health assessment in the context of the pesticides peer review of the active substance chlorpyrifos-methyl, 26th November 2019, https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.2903/j.efsa.2019.5908

[4] See for instance: https://www.env-health.org/a-victory-for-future-generations-european-governments-ban-brain-harming-pesticides-chlorpyrifos-and-chlorpyrifos-methyl/ ; https://www.env-health.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Letter-to-EU-ministers-Your-support-to-the-ban-of-neurotoxic-pesticides-chlorpyrifos-ethyl-and-methyl.pdf