European Commission will look at pesticide co-formulants


The full article was originally written for GMWATCH

“We are opening a new area of work” in pesticide risk assessment – Commission’s Nathalie Chaze

Yesterday’s conference in the European Parliament on glyphosate’s re-approval brought a modest breakthrough in pesticide risk assessment in the form of a promise from the Commission to begin looking at the toxicity of pesticide co-formulants.

One of the main problems with the way pesticides are assessed in Europe and around the world is that only the declared ‘active principle’ or active substance of the pesticide – in the case of Roundup, that’s glyphosate – is tested and assessed for safety.

But pesticides consist of the active principle plus co-formulants. Many co-formulants are toxic in themselves and in combination with the active principle can form a chemical mixture that is far more toxic than the isolated active principle.

This shortcoming in pesticide risk assessment has drawn much criticism in recent years from the public and scientists, especially in relation to glyphosate herbicides. The critics say that there is little point in assessing the toxicity of glyphosate alone when the complete formulations as sold and used are known to be far more toxic.

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European Commission will look at pesticide co-formulants