EU Member States agree to ban controversial insecticide
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    EU Member States agree to ban controversial insecticide

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    The controversial insecticide chlorpyrifos will be banned in the EU from 2020 after Member States voted on Friday against renewing its approval, the European Commission announced on Friday.

    “Representatives of Member States voted” on two Commission proposals “not renewing the approvals of chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl” and “for both substances, a qualified majority was obtained,” a spokesperson of the European Commission announced.

    “This means once the regulations (expected in January 2020) are formally adopted, Member States will need to withdraw all authorisations” for plant protection products containing the substances concerned, the spokesperson added.

    A maximum grace period of three months may be granted for eliminating stocks of these products.

    Chlorpyrifos is an insecticide used in the cultivation of fruits and vegetables. Its license in the EU expires at the end of January 2020.

    The Commission – which heads the expert committee that study license applications for pesticides – proposed the non-renewal following an assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirming “risks for human safety”. The concerns related to “the genotoxicity and developmental neurotoxicity” of these substances.

    Eight EU countries, which do not include Belgium, have already banned products containing chlorpyrifos. The U.S. state of California did the same in August.

    To be sold in the EU, a substance needs to be approved by a committee of experts made up of representatives of the EU Member States and chaired by the European Commission.

    Each country is then responsible for authorising, or not, products containing the substance.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times