The essentials In a report published on June 7th, the NGO Pesticide Action Network (PAN Europe) pointed to the use of 12 toxic pesticides in Europe. Deficiencies in the evaluation of these products are denounced.
12. This is the number of suspected genotoxic pesticides approved for use in Europe by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). They are therefore genotoxic, ie they are able to cause lesions to appear in the DNA and thus lead to cancer or mutations. The NGO Pesticide Action Network (PAN Europe), a critic of this use, published a report on the issue on Monday 7 June, stressing that EFSA had given the go-ahead for the past fifteen years.
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“The controversial European Union Food Safety Agency (EFSA) has ignored positive cancer risk test results to suppress the use of 12 unstable pesticides that are now widespread across Europe,” reads this report.
According to PAN Europe, these pesticides, such as maleic hydrazide, would be unknown to the general public. If potatoes, carrots or even onions are used to treat potatoes, these and especially their metabolites would be classified as genotoxic and carcinogenic for humans according to the EU classification for carcinogenic products, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction.
No analysis since 2012
However, according to Le Monde, marketing was re-approved at European level in October 2017 for a period of fifteen years. However, no analysis has been carried out since 2012. According to the media, the maleic hydrazide case illustrates “the deficiencies in the EFSA approval process”.
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For the NGO, the finding is no less alarming. “Instead of protecting EU citizens from the damage caused by genotoxins, as provided for in EU food law, EFSA is doing the opposite and exposing citizens to them,” she proclaims.
“Even after 2009, when the EU decided to exclude all human contact with genotoxic pesticides (as well as with endocrine disrupting pesticides), EFSA issued opinions that contradicted these rules. In this report we show that EFSA is looking for solutions “to classify these dangerous chemicals (metabolites of genotoxic pesticides, contaminants of genotoxic pesticides and genotoxic mixtures) as safe”.