This is the verdict of SAPEA’s Evidence Review Report “Improving authorisation processes for plant protection products in Europe: a scientific perspective on the assessment of potential risks to human health”.
Producing enough food for the human population whilst also maintaining a clean and safe environment to ensure effective delivery of ecosystem services is a key challenge for humanity. The side effects of intensive agriculture, and particularly the use of plant protection products (PPPs), are often directly or indirectly harmful to human health and frequently affect common goods like clean water and air. Produce resulting from commercial agriculture is traded worldwide, exposing consumers to residues of pesticides that may have been applied half a world away. Recognising these cross-border threats to human and environmental health, the Member States of the European Union have relinquished national remits in the joint endeavour of creating a safer, cleaner, and healthier Europe: in the EU’s ‘dual system’ of pesticide authorisation, PPPs have to be authorised at EU level before Member States can authorise them at the national level.
To ensure that the legislation governing the EU’s PPP authorisation processes achieves its objectives and is efficient and effective, it is regularly evaluated and updated with the latest scientific findings and developments. SAPEA was asked to provide scientific input on how to make the EU’s current PPP authorisation processes more effective, efficient, and transparent.
The report examines the methods and procedures for assessing potential harmful effects on human health from the use of PPPs and suggests further improvement in: