|Editorial PN 92|
In turbulent times for all organisations relying on donor funding, PAN UK has launched its 25th Anniversary Appeal. Director Keith Tyrell makes a passionate call for resources to allow the organisation to remain proactive on critical pesticide issues in the UK and internationally (page 3).
In the last three months, major steps have been taken by the international pesticides conventions, confirming their essential role in global pesticide risk reduction. Endosulfan was finally added to a list of globally banned chemicals of the Stockholm Convention in April, and we carry a first hand report on how events unfolded from PAN North America (page 4). At the same time, paraquat was recommended for listing in the Rotterdam Convention, using a powerful but underutilised mechanism which allows developing countries to propose severely hazardous pesticide formulations that have been wreaking havoc in their countries. This is the first time this mechanism has been utilised since adoption of the convention in 2004 and sets a good example for other developing countries to follow (page 21).
New EU regulations on registering pesticides address the long-standing criticism that registration decisions rely too heavily on industry data, but recent guidance has not satisfied critics. It relies heavily on Good Laboratory Practice rather than sound, peer-reviewed independent science, causing a stir among independent scientists who point out the limitations of GLP (page 9). The practical problems of bias toward industry-generated research are demonstrated in an article on the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate). New research on the impacts of glyphosate on birth defects concludes that an objective review of all the available science urgently needs to be conducted by the EU, and certainly before glyphosate-resistant genetically modified crops are approved in Europe (page 15). An update from Brazil demonstrates that such crops are likely to increase pesticide use, with all the associated negative effects on health and the environment (page 6).
A DEFRA consultation on implementation of the new European Sustainable Use Directive concluded that only minor changes are needed in the UK. However conservation organisations disagree (page 18) – while one of the proposed changes seems to be taking the UK backwards in terms of protecting pesticide users (page 16).
Further afield, EU pesticide standards may offer benefits to farmers. Production of green beans in Kenya for export to Europe have improved health, environmental and economic outcomes for farmers through adoption of integrated pest management techniques (page 12).
We also bring you two articles from West Africa on improving pesticide management conditions, by training dealers (page 20) and communities on health impacts (page 8). Finally, an article about a site in Cambridge (page 17) reminds UK readers that pesticide wastes are not only a problem for developing countries.