The pesticide chlorpyrifos could be banned in Europe from next year after the European Food Safety Authority said it does not meet criteria for renewal.

The approval period for the substance expires at the end of January 2020. The approval criteria are set in Article 4 of European regulation number 1107/2009. Chlorpyrifos is used to control foliage and soil-borne insect pests on crops, including alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes, and walnuts.

The manufacturers’ application for renewal is being evaluated under the EU’s system for approval of pesticides. Although this process is not yet complete, the European Commission asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for a statement on results of the human health assessment.

EFSA identified concerns about possible genotoxic and neurological effects during development, supported by epidemiological data indicating issues in children. This means no safe exposure level ­can be set for the substance.

Renewal of approval of chlorpyrifos is being driven by Dow AgroSciences, Adama Agriculture B.V. and Sapec Agro SA.

Chlorpyrifos is among the top 15 active substances most frequently found in European unprocessed food and fruit, according to the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Pesticide Action Network Europe.

It is most often detected in citrus fruits with more than one of three sampled grapefruits and lemons and one of four sampled oranges and mandarins containing chlorpyrifos residues.

Spain is the member state assigned to oversee the re-authorization dossier with Poland acting as co-rapporteur.

The situation in the United States

“The EU is doing what the science demands: putting public health ahead of the narrow interests of the pesticide industry. Tragically for American kids and their parents, the Trump administration is kowtowing to chemical agribusiness and allowing a dangerous pesticide to be sprayed on foods children eat every day,” said Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group president.

Hawaii became the first state in the country when it decided last year to ban the use of pesticides containing chlorpyrifos by 2023.

Earlier this year, New York banned all use of chlorpyrifos by Dec. 1, 2021, this deadline making it the first state to stop the use of the chemical. Californian officials said in May the state would cancel the registration and ban chlorpyrifos but no date was given.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a deadline as chlorpyrifos’ registration is coming up for a review with a statutory deadline of October 2022.

Two years ago, then EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt denied requests to revoke tolerances or maximum residue levels for food and cancel all chlorpyrifos registrations.

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