Health groups call on the leaders of the Western Balkan countries to harmonize national air quality standards with the World Health Organization Global air quality guidelines. Health experts should be actively involved in these decision-making processes to ensure the timely integration of public health measures into environmental policies. Compliance with WHO recommendations brings multiple benefits – reduced incidence of chronic diseases and premature deaths, reduced overall health costs and, most importantly, better health and higher productivity of people.
26 July 2018
Brussels – The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe, Nature et Progrès Belgique, WeMove.EU and SumofUs today officially applied before the Court of Justice of the European Union for joining the legal challenge initiated by the Brussels Region against the European Commission over the decision to renew the authorisation licence for glyphosate, the world’s most-selling herbicide.
Genon K. Jensen, HEAL’s Executive Director, said: “There are well-founded concerns about glyphosate’s impacts on human health as well as the European evaluation process which essentially ignored the opinion of the International Agency for Research on Cancer on the matter. We absolutely support public authorities like the Brussels Region who promote a phase out of toxic pesticides – they shouldn’t be hindered in their efforts to put health first.”
The Brussels Region is committed to a “zero pesticides” policy. Following the renewal of the European license for glyphosate , it initiated a court case against the European Commission over the decision at the European Court of Justice, considering that the decision is directly affecting its exercise of power in the field of environment and the precautionary principle .
Martin Dermine, PAN Europe’s Health and Environment Policy Officer added: “The Brussels Region is a front runner with regards to the protection of citizens and the environment against pesticides. We intend to support them as we consider that, based on science, glyphosate should not have been re-approved as it is a probable carcinogen”.
A majority of the intervening groups have founded and promoted the fastest ever growing European Citizens’ Initiative “Stop Glyphosate”, which demanded a ban on glyphosate, more transparent and independent EU risk assessments of pesticides, and an overall reduction in pesticide use and gathered more than one million signatures in a few months. The European Commission failed to address the ECI requests in a meaningful way , also leading to the European Parliament setting up a special committee on the EU authorisation system for pesticides .
This new case is adding to already ongoing legal procedures in relation to the proper implementation of EU law in the context of pesticides authorisation. The European Court of Justice is currently examining a question on whether the current risk assessment process for pesticides respects the precautionary principle in the objective of proper protection of human health and the environment .