Ban toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos from children’s plates, consumers urge EU

October 17, 2018

Over 37,000 people have backed a new campaign launched yesterday calling on EU governments to ban the widely used pesticide chlorpyrifos – known for its damaging effects on child brain development.

Chlorpyrifos is one of the most commonly used pesticides in Europe and its residues are often present in fruits, vegetables, cereals and dairy products, as well as drinking water.

The petition – launched by international consumer watchdog SumOfUs, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Générations Futures, Ecologistas en Acción, and the European and German branches of the Pesticides Action Network – is pressuring EU governments ahead of a critical meeting next week on renewing the license for the chemical.

Exposure to the pesticide, even in small doses, is dangerous and in particular can impact neurological development and the hormone system. Scientists have linked it to increased risk of autism, working memory loss, ADHD and decreased IQ. Children are at greatest risk because their brains are still developing.

The current EU authorisation for chlorpyrifos is set to expire on 31 January 2019. At next week’s meeting, taking place 23 and 24 October, representatives of EU governments on the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF Committee) will start negotiations on whether to renew the license permitting the use of chlorpyrifos in the EU.

“Fresh fruits and vegetables are supposed to be good for us, but thanks to the widespread use of chlorpyrifos people can’t shop with the confidence that poison won’t end up on their dinner plates,” said Nabil Berbour, campaign manager at SumOfUs. “Evidence of the danger chlorpyrifos poses to human health is only growing, with innocent children those at greatest risk. We’ve seen politicians take a stand on bee-killing pesticides this year; they should once again stand up to powerful pesticide lobbyists in the knowledge that thousands of people back an EU-wide ban of this toxic chemical.”

“The widely used pesticide chlorpyrifos is linked to the disruption of the hormonal system and effects on the developing human brain,” said Genon Jensen, Executive Director at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL). “The EU and governments hold a key opportunity to protect the health of millions of Europeans, by not proposing or granting any further extension to chlorpyrifos.”

View the petition:

View the factsheet produced by HEAL, Pesticide Action Network Europe, Générations Futures and Pesticide Action Network Germany (August 2018):