The European Union confirmed it will no longer permit sales of the widely-used insecticide chlorpyrifos after Jan. 31, 2020.
In a regulatory committee vote Dec. 6, EU countries backed the withdrawal of the authorization for the chlorpyrifos and and the related substance chlorpyrifos-methyl, which have been identified as a possible cause of neurological damage in children.
The move was expected after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which carries out pesticide risk assessments, said in August that no safe exposure level existed for chlorpyrifos, which is used widely on fruit, corn, and other crops.
The prohibition will hit Corteva Agriscience, Adama Agriculture BV, and Sapec Agro SA, which applied for reapproval of chlorpyrifos.
“This decision denies EU growers access to yet another key tool to protect their crops,” said Corteva spokesman József Máté in an email to Bloomberg Environment. Corteva sells chlorpyrifos under the Lorsban brand name.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm which will formally finalize the prohibition, welcomed the committee decision, spokeswoman Vivian Loonela said. Details about how many EU countries backed the prohibition weren’t immediately known, she said.
Out of Step With EPA
The European food agency’s findings on the pesticide were out of step with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, Corteva’s Máté said.
The EPA said in July that data supporting objections to the use of the pesticide was “not sufficiently valid, complete or reliable.”
But DowDupont Inc. and other chemical manufacturers next year will stop selling chlorpyrifos in California. The action follows the state’s move to set new allowable levels in order to reduce exposures to bystanders, workers, and the environment.
But environmental groups say evidence justifying a ban on chlorpyrifos is overwhelming because of its impacts on children’s development.
“The EU is the largest single market in the world and the most powerful trading power, so we hope this ban will pave the way to other bans elsewhere in the world,” said Nabil Berbour, campaign manager of corporate responsibility watchdog SumOfUs.