In Poland increased chlorpyriphos was detected for quite a long time due to a mistake made by the Ministry of Agricultare. In 2016, a regulation that amended the standards for the pesticide, wasn’t introduced until June, when all the farmers had already sprayed fruits and vegetables. The Ministry started to inform about the changing standards too late. According to the story in Newsweek, farmers do not follow legal acts on an ongoing basis. They are guided by common sense: the protection program and the content written on the labels of pesticides.
The project on chlorpyrifos was first published 17th of June 2019 in EUObserver covering warnings from scientists because of its effect on humans, spread of the poison in food, the legal battle in EU and the fact that it was becoming banned in more and more countries. At the same time, market analysts predict the market to expand in the next five years. Chlorpyrifos might be banned in the EU from the beginning of next year. On the same day all the material was released on this website with the overview of the team-members. Le Monde, France, uncovered how only one study from Dow looked into the neurotoxicology of chlorpyrifos.
Harvest of melons in the province of Murcia in Spain. Photo Marcos García Rey
Scientists say there is no acceptable dose to avoid brain damage. Its use is banned in several European countries. Yet its residues are found in fruit baskets, on dinner plates, and in human urine samples from all over Europe. Now producers are pushing for a renewed EU-approval – perhaps in vain.
Chlorpyrifos has been used in EU despite the manufacturer’s study on developmental neurotoxicity is criticized for being invalid. Photo Marcos García Rey. The EU-approval of the pesticide chlorpyrifos was based on one single study concerning possible damages on the developing brain, commissioned by the producer Dow in 1998. Dow has been asked to provide a new study on developmental neurotoxicity, but rejected to comply. A spokesperson for EFSA (European Food Safety Agency) says to Le Monde:
“We can confirm that during the evaluation of chlorpyrifos in 2013 the only one available study on developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) was from 1998 and had several limitations (e.g. lack of findings in the positive control, exposure period from gestational day 6 to lactation day 11 (instead of 21), lower number of individuals for neuropathology (6 instead of 10) and for learning and memory (8 instead of 10), etc.).”
Spain is acting as the Rapporteur Member State for the UE in the renewal procedure which will end in January 2020.
Professor Ketil Hylland at the Department of Biosciences at the University of Oslo (private photo):
“Chlorpyrifos is a nerve poison that affects the transmission of signals between nerve cells. Previously, the common belief was that the substance disappeared quickly from the environment and affected people to a small extent, but gradually one has understood how harmful it is.” Hylland has been working on pollutants and pollution in water for decades. He led the Environmental Toxication Committee, which produced a report to environmental minister Erik Solheim in 2010, and in the past year he has led experiments with chlorpyrifos on cod, a fish living in Norway’s salt water fjords.”We wanted to see how the drug affects both general health and behavior. We saw that chlorpyrifos clearly affected the nervous system of the cod.