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Pesticides not only destroy insects' nervous system; children's as well

European Parliament will vote for new pesticides regulations. Stricter regulations will be especially important for agricultural sector

29.10.2008 |WECF Press Release

The European Parliament will vote next week on a revision of its legislation concerning pesticides. A lot has been said about the disadvantages a stricter law would have on the agricultural sector. But the question remains whether this does not leave a very skewed picture of which interests are really at stake. 

WECF the Netherlands issued a press release on the subject and the Agrarisch Dagblad, the daily agricultural newspaper in the Netherlands published an article by WECF president Marie Kranendonk. A letter of concern has been sent to Members of the European Parliament.

In a study, released in September, on behalf of the European Parliament's on the pros and cons of a stricter pesticides regulation, scientific research showed that certain substances in pesticides contain serious health risks. And that those who have to work with these pesticides, as well as their families, are more at risk than others. Especially at risk is the unborn child. Even before conception, during pregnancy, the development of the child can be harmed by very low amounts of harmful substances to which the mother is exposed, through pesticide residues in food or - exposure at work - or in the living environment.
The report also indicates that cancer - particularly brain tumors - are relatively more common among children of farmworkers.

WECF's president Marie Kranendonk asks in her letter to the Dutch agrarian press: "Wouldn't it be in the interest of farmers themselves to ask for a stricter legislation on pesticides, which gives themselves, their families and employees a better protection against serious health risks?"
WECF has also send a letter to both the Dutch Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Health together with Milieudefensie/Friends of the Earth the Netherlands to ask them to let public health prevail.

Dutch letter to the Ministers:

WECF en Milieudefensie roepen Ministers Verburg en Cramer op om bescherming van de gezondheid zwaarder te laten wegen bij herziening bestrijdingsmiddelen wetgeving.

De herziening van het Europese Gewasbeschermingbeleid is, na jaren van voorbereiding, nu in een beslissende fase beland. Met de Europese parlementsverkiezingen in het vooruitzicht, proberen de EU Minister Raad en het Europees Parlement nu, onder leiding van het Franse Voorzitterschap, voor januari 2009 een compromis te sluiten. Milieudefensie en WECF roepen  de Ministers Verburg van landbouw en Cramer van Milieu in bijgaande brief op om tijdens deze onderhandelingen een constructieve opstelling te kiezen.

Het Europees Parlement  heeft amendementen  voorgesteld op het eerder door de Minister raad gepubliceerde Gemeenschappelijke Standpunt. Het Europarlement wil een aantal verdergaande maatregelen die de meer bescherming geven aan de gezondheid van kwetsbare groepen als kinderen en de genen die direct werkzaam zijn in de landbouw.  Zij dringen er bij de Ministers op aan serieus aandacht te geven aan deze amendementen. Zij wijzen daarbij op het onderzoek gedaan in opdracht van
het Europarlement waarin duidelijk naar voren dat de gezondheidsbelangen het grootste zijn voor boeren en anderen werkzaam met bestrijdingsmiddelen in de agrarische sector en hun gezinnen. Dit plaatst een extra verantwoordelijkheid op de Ministers om deze gezondheidsbelangen zwaarder te laten wegen.

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