Natural Health News – After 12 months of deliberation by the UK government it has announced that the safety of pesticide evaluations are strengthened.
As part of its new protocol , announced this week, the risk for residents of crop spraying will be included in the safety assessment and a distance of two meters between the sprinkler and a resident or passerby must be assumed in risk assessments; Currently regulations stipulate a distance of eight meters (an assumption that underestimates the exposure of people drifting pesticide use).
pesticides has long defender of Georgina Downs * time has hailed the announcement as a “major victory” for his long campaign to get the government to accept the flaws in its approach to assessing the risk of fumigations in the United Kingdom.
The changes apply to new pesticides that come through the regulatory system, but Ms. Downs believes that the change of direction on this issue raises important questions about whether the already approved pesticides will now also be reevaluated.
In 2009, the Ministers in DEFRA (Department of Environment, Agriculture and Rural Affairs) requested a review of the approach of exposure assessment and risk the UK for people exposed to agricultural pesticides sprayed on crops, following an legal challenge by Ms. Downs against government policy.
group advising the Government was working called Working Group Evaluation Spectator Risks (BRAWG), which presented a report on its findings to ministers in December 2012.
the government said it accepted all the report’s recommendations, which include:
- the development of risk assessments for passersby and residents, which must be continually updated as more evidence becomes available.
- A 2 meters between the equipment and the passerby or resident must be assumed in these risk assessments, rather than the actual distance of 8 meters.
- should be considered that the consequences of repeated applications of pesticides and individual exhibitions, to determine the possible accumulation of product.
- different risk assessments should be considered for children and adults exposed as bystanders or residents.
- The Government must account for exposure from different sources.
He added that the report ‘updated risk assessment in line with the latest scientific advances’ and that it would try to ensure the recommended approach BRAWG was adopted at EU level instead out of limited so UK.
EU should adopt similar measures
In this connection as a result of representations to various European institutions since 2002, the campaign conducted by Ms. Downs and they had succeeded in ensuring that the new specifications exposure and risk assessment for residents and passersby are included, most importantly, Regulation (EU) No 284/2013 of 1 March 2013 .
This document establishes new data requirements for pesticide products. There is also a document EFSA guidance on the assessment of exposure to pesticide operators, workers, residents and passersby, should be completed next year.
Both documents requirements long reinforcing data in Member States under EU law with respect to risk assessment to be carried out for all exposure groups necessary (ie , operators, workers, residents, bystanders) before pesticides may be authorized for use, in order to establish that there will be no adverse effects on human health (as required in the Article 4 of Regulation plant protection products (PPP) 1107/2009 ). This is a requirement the United Kingdom had previously ignored.
By accepting all the recommendations of BRAWG report, Ms. Downs said that “the government is now finally recognized that the approach to risk assessment relied upon to date has been inadequate. This is what it has always maintained from the beginning of my campaign because there has been no risk assessment to cover the exposure of residents living near sprayed fields. ”
A health problem of the 21st century
This risk is well documented. For example, a recent review Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology highlighted the large number of studies that found associations between exposure to pesticides (including those living near fields sprayed ) with a wide range of chronic diseases.
These cancers including breast, prostate, lung, brain (including childhood brain cancer), kidney, testes, pancreas, esophagus, stomach, bladder, bone, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, sarcoma soft, leukemia tissues (including childhood leukemia).
Other chronic health problems including birth defects, reproductive disorders, neurodegenerative diseases (including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, diabetes (type 1 – 2 and gestational), chronic kidney disease, and autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus).
The review concludes that it is time to find a preventive approach and find alternatives efficient use of pesticides.
residents still at risk
be warned, however, that there is still a long way to go. One of the key recommendations , assuming a distance of two meters between the boom and one person was still insufficient given that “in reality, many residents live within a meter or so away from a field.”
also it shows that the BRAWG report “not yet recognized the scope of the very serious flaws in the existing policy and approach” and as such does not go far enough in its recommendations.
During the 12 years of his campaign, Ms. Downs has received numerous reports of acute, short-term and long-term chronic diseases in attributed to the use of pesticides in the fields nearby rural communities. Many of them are detailed in his campaign website and in its own press release In response to the announcement Defra .
“The government should now as a matter of urgency to ensure the protection of persons in the field by prohibiting the use of pesticides in substantial distances in the village of tenements, schools, playgrounds, etc.” he added.
* Georgina Downs runs the multi-award winning UK Pesticides Campaign , which is the only campaign that exists specifically to highlight the risks and harmful to health and environmental impact of pesticides on residents and rural communities, as well as other members of the public exposed. Pesticides Campaign UK was founded in 2001 after Ms. Downs identified serious deficiencies in the “risk assessment spectator” of the government.