Global network congratulates countries phasing-out Highly Hazardous Pesticides

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) today congratulates the countries moving to ban Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) that are harming people and the environment, as the global organisation releases the  6th edition of  the PAN International Consolidated List of Banned Pesticides. The Bans List provides a basis for political action, providing a long list of pesticides that many countries have found too hazardous for use and for which they have found alternatives.

This new consolidated list of hazardous pesticides comes during the 2022 Conference of Parties meeting of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS), in which pesticides listing is discussed. As the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Council holds its 170th session, PAN International also calls on Member States of the FAO Council to make urgent progress on the goal to phase-out HHPs globally by 2030.

The latest edition sees the addition of 73 new pesticide active ingredients newly banned by governments in at least one of 168 countries because of threats to human health and/or the environment.  The European Union and UK once again scored highest with the number of pesticides banned (464*), followed by Turkey (212) and Saudi Arabia (201) which banned more than 200 currently used pesticides. Brazil (133) is the stand out country in Latin America. Indonesia (62) and Cambodia (60) scored highest in Asia, but the region is a long way behind.

Despite this good news, there is an urgent need for all countries to take strong action to ban more hazardous pesticides, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America where most of these pesticides are used. The recent review of unintentional acute pesticide poisoning (UAPP) found that 44% of the global farm workforce is acutely poisoned by pesticides every year. The percentage of farmers and farmworkers being poisoned every year rises sharply to 51% for South East Asia and nearly 65% for South Asia – correlating with the failure of many Asian countries to ban the pesticides causing the problems.

“It is encouraging that 39 countries have now banned chlorpyrifos ahead of the expected listing of this highly toxic pesticide under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants for a global ban. It is anticipated that by next year, many more countries are likely to have banned it,” said Dr. Meriel Watts, Director of Policy and Science at PAN Asia Pacific. Chlorpyrifos is linked to brain damage and is especially toxic to children.

Other bans of note are Sri Lanka’s ban of glyphosate, bringing the total of countries that have banned the widely used herbicide linked to cancer and other diseases to four. Paraquat, the most highly toxic of all herbicides in use, is now banned by at least 58 countries.

The FAO Council, in 2006, recommended a progressive ban on HHPs. The FAO, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Health Organization (WHO) started to develop a Global Action Plan on HHPs; however, there is little progress on this plan for the international community to eliminate HHPs and phase-in alternatives.

“It has long  been acknowledged by international institutions like UNEP, FAO and SAICM that global action is needed to tackle the health and environmental problems caused by HHPs. The Bans List shows that although some countries have made a good start,  many countries have a long way to go. We need political will to implement a clear phase-out strategy with the goal to ban HHPs in agriculture by 2030,” said Keith Tyrell, PAN International Chairperson and PAN UK Director.

Global efforts to ban and phase-out HHPs are also being undermined by increasing corporate influence in the UN, as exemplified by the partnership between FAO and the pesticide industry association CropLife International.  On behalf of 430 civil society and indigenous peoples organisations from 69 countries, PAN International submitted a letter of appeal to members of the FAO Council ahead of its meeting. In the letter, the FAO Council was asked to direct the FAO Director-General to rescind the agency’s partnership with CropLife, following recommendations made by UN Special Rapporteur Michael Fakhri during the Human Rights Council 49th Session. PAN and 10 other global civil society and Indigenous peoples organizations also submitted a briefing report to FAO Member States addressing the conflict of interest and incompatibility of FAO’s partnership with CropLife.

Marcia Ishii, Senior Scientist and Regional Coordinator for PAN North America, explained, “FAO must lead the way by taking decisive action to phase-out HHPs globally and support the growing desire among Member States to transition to agroecology, an approach that enables farmers, workers and communities to create healthy, climate-resilient food and farming systems without the use of toxic pesticides. However, so long as FAO pursues partnerships with the world’s largest pesticide companies, as detailed in PAN’s Briefing submitted to Member States last week, the organization will fail utterly to deliver the kind of visionary responsible leadership that the world needs.”

“A lot of highly hazardous pesticides are banned in Europe as they are regarded as too hazardous for people and the environment. We know that highly hazardous pesticides threaten a range of human rights including the right to health, clean water and a dignified life. But despite this, the export of banned pesticides to the Global South is common practice. We therefore call on all exporting countries to fulfil their human rights obligations and stop exporting these highly hazardous pesticides,” said Susan Haffmans, Senior Advisor from PAN Germany.

“A large proportion of pesticides classified as ‘extremely hazardous,’ most of which are banned in the European Union, are still marketed elsewhere in the world, particularly in Africa. These products carry high risks for the health of farmers and have deleterious consequences for agriculture and biodiversity. These chemical pesticides are still used in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Morocco, and more widely in Africa, even though they are considered toxic for human health and the environment. While some decision makers do not know enough about the impacts of these products, those who are aware of their effects and still allow these products to enter national markets are willingly putting our lives in danger,” said Maimouna Diene, PAN Africa Regional Coordinator.

Javier Souza, Regional Coordinator of PAN Latin America, meanwhile said, “The continued use of Highly Hazardous Pesticides in agricultural activities and at the household level, for example in pets and for the management of insect vectors of disease, is an affront to socio-environmental health as it impacts on all living beings. We are not condemned to use these pesticides. On the contrary, agroecology is a paradigm to produce healthy and wholesome food at a lower cost than using pesticides, and above all, without environmental impact. FAO and governments should support, with information and other public policies, the transition to other agro-food systems capable of producing food for everyone, respecting food sovereignty and all human rights and adapting to climate change.”

*The figure 464 for the EU and the UK is constituted as follows: 195 banned + 269 specifically ‘not approved’ pesticides which are Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) and/or  banned  by  another  country. For more information, see Explanatory Note.


430 civil society and Indigenous Peoples Groups to FAO Council: End partnership with pesticide industry

Reminding the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of its obligations to uphold human rights, 430 civil society and Indigenous peoples organizations from 69 countries across the globe today called on the FAO Council to rescind the agency’s partnership with CropLife International, the industry association representing the world’s largest pesticide manufacturers.

Ahead of the FAO Council’s 170th session that begins on June 13, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) submitted to members of the Council a letter co-sponsored by 10 other global networks, and on behalf of the 430 organizations, urging it to take immediate action in the Council session.  This demand builds on the ongoing concerns expressed by civil society and Indigenous People’s organizations, and on recommendations made by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food during the Human Rights Council’s 49th session, namely: “to review the agreement with CropLife International with an eye to human rights concerns” and “to consider directing the Director-General of FAO to rescind the agreement.“

In the letter, the 430 organizations expressed concerns about how CropLife member companies (BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agriscience, FMC and Syngenta) have “interfered in national policy and exert enormous pressure on governments that take measures to protect people and the environment from pesticide harms.”

In October 2020, the FAO signed a Letter of Intent with CropLife to cooperate on a broad range of areas, as part of the agency’s Private Sector Engagement Strategy. “FAO deepening its collaboration with CropLife International directly counters any efforts toward progressively banning Highly Hazardous Pesticides, as recommended for consideration by the FAO Council as early as 2006,” the letter stated.

“This partnership has been in effect for over a year and a half now, and FAO’s efforts to push global action to phase-out and ban HHPs have ground to a halt,” said Keith Tyrell, Chair of PAN International. “As the signers underscore in this letter, Member States and the FAO must promote agroecology, a viable approach for generating ecologically-based food and farming systems without the use of toxic pesticides.”

The letter pointed out that FAO’s own due diligence process indicates that companies involved in human rights abuses can be excluded from potential partners. The organizations assert that the “use of hazardous pesticides is inconsistent with the rights protected by the United Nations to: Health; Clean, healthy and sustainable environment; Safe working conditions; Adequate food; safe and clean water and sanitation; A dignified life; and Rights of Indigenous Peoples, women, children, workers, and peasants and other people working in rural areas.”

In addition, a briefing report entitled “Addressing the Conflict of Interest and Incompatibility of FAO’s Partnership with CropLife International”- detailing the necessity to end what civil society and Indigenous peoples call the “Toxic Alliance” between the FAO and the pesticide industry – was submitted to the FAO Council by PAN and 10 other global organizations spearheading the campaign.

A separate briefing report entitled “Corporate Capture of FAO: Industry’s Deepening Influence on Global Food Governance,” which featured contributions by PAN International, was also submitted to the FAO and Member States in time for the FAO Council session. The report highlighted the partnership with CropLife as among the case studies exemplifying the trend where corporations are being given increasing influence at the expense of states, small scale food producers, Indigenous Peoples and civil society.

Links to letter to the FAO Council:

 Link to the Briefing Report to FAO Member States: https://bit.ly/ToxicAllianceBrief  


Gute Nachricht: USA verbieten alle Anwendungen von Chlorpyrifos in der Lebensmittelproduktion

Gestern, am 18. August 2021, hat die US Zulassungsbehörde EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) angekündigt, dass sie alle Verwendungen von Chlorpyrifos in der Lebensmittelproduktion einstellen wird.

Kristin Schafer, Geschäftsführerin des Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), gab als Reaktion auf die Entscheidung der EPA die folgende Erklärung ab:

„Gemeinsam mit Partnern im ganzen Land feiern wir diese Entscheidung, die die Gesundheit von Millionen von Kindern, Landarbeitern und Familien in ländlichen Gebieten schützt – und die längst überfällig war. Seit Jahrzehnten liegen die wissenschaftlichen Belege für die Schädlichkeit dieser neurotoxischen Chemikalie vor. Es bedurfte einer hartnäckigen Arbeit der Verbände, einer Überzeugungsarbeit in den Parlamenten der Bundesstaaten und koordinierter rechtlicher Schritte, um die EPA endlich dazu zu zwingen, ihre Arbeit zu machen.“

„Wir gehen davon aus, dass die heutigen Beschlüsse auch zu einem Verbot des Einsatzes von Chlorpyrifos bei Nutzpflanzen führen werden, die als Futtermittel angebaut werden, und dass die EPA in den kommenden Monaten auch Maßnahmen in Bezug auf alle anderen Verwendungszwecke von Chlorpyrifos außerhalb der Lebensmittelproduktion in Betracht ziehen wird. Wir fordern die Behörde auf, auch diese Verwendungen rasch zu verbieten, damit wir uns den 35 Ländern anschließen können, die diese gefährliche Chemikalie bereits vollständig verboten haben.“

„Wir hoffen, dass die heutige Entscheidung ein Zeichen dafür ist, dass diese Behörde Wissenschaft und Gerechtigkeit bei der Entscheidungsfindung über gefährliche Pestizide wieder in den Mittelpunkt stellt. Viel zu lange hatten die Interessen der Pestizidindustrie Vorrang vor dem Schutz der Gesundheit von Kindern oder der Gesundheit derjenigen, die an der Front der landwirtschaftlichen Produktion stehen – Landarbeiter, Landwirte und Familien in ländlichen Gebieten. Es ist an der Zeit, dass sich das ändert.“

PANNA und seine Partner, darunter Wissenschaftler, Landarbeiter sowie kommunale und nationale Organisationen, setzen sich seit dem Jahr 2000 für ein bundesweites Verbot von Chlorpyrifos ein. Im Jahr 2000 wurde die Verwendung von Chlorpyrifos im Haushalt wegen seiner Schädigenden Wirkung auf die Hirnentwicklung von Kindern verboten. Im Jahr 2007 reichte PANNA gemeinsam mit Partnern und dem Anwaltsteam von EarthJustice eine Petition bei der EPA ein, in der ein Verbot von chlorpyrifoshaltigen Produkten in der Landwirtschaft gefordert wurde. Erst 2015 schlug die EPA ein Chlorpyrifos-Verbot für Lebensmittel vor. Diese ausstehende Bundesentscheidung wurde 2017 aufgehoben, eine Entscheidung, die PANNA und seine Partner 2018 erneut rechtlich anfochten. Daraufhin ordnete das Gericht im Mai 2021 an, alle Verwendungen von Chlorpyrifos in Lebensmitteln zu verbieten, sofern deren Unbedenklichkeit nicht erwiesen ist. Hierauf reagiert das jetzige Verbot der Verwendung in Lebensmitteln.

Als Reaktion auf die Verzögerung der Maßnahmen auf Bundesebene im Jahr 2017 drängten die Befürworter eines Verbots auf Maßnahmen zum Schutz von Kindern, Arbeitnehmern und Gemeinden auf Bundesstaatenebene. Seit 2018 haben Hawai’i, Kalifornien, New York, Maryland und Maine alle Verwendungen von Chlorpyrifos untersagt, und in mehreren anderen Bundesstaaten wurden ähnliche Maßnahmen in die Wege geleitet.

Quelle: Pressemitteilung von PANNA vom 18.8.2021


In der EU sind Chlorpyrifos und Chlorpyrifos-Methyl seit Februar 2020 verboten. Auch hier war ein jahrzehntelanges Engagement von PAN Gruppen und zahlreichen anderen Organisationen für ein Verbot vorausgegangen. Im August 2019 hatte die Europäische Behörde für Lebensmittelsicherheit (EFSA) endlich anerkannt, dass das Insektizid Chlorpyrifos für die menschliche Gesundheit schädlich ist und nicht die Kriterien für eine Wiedergenehmigung in der EU erfüllt (PAN Germany berichtete). Am 6. Dezember 2020 fiel dann die lang ersehnte Entscheidung: Die Vertreter*innen der europäischen Mitgliedstaaten im Ständigen Ausschusses der Europäischen Kommission, der für die Genehmigung von Pflanzenschutzmittel-Wirkstoffen zuständig ist (SCoPAFF) stimmten dafür, Chlorpyrifos und Chlorpyrifos-Methyl vom EU-Markt zu verbannen – ein historischer und überfälliger Schritt, urteilten europäische NGOs.

Revealed: EU Glyphosate assessment was based on flawed science

[3. July 2021] A new scientific analysis (1) concludes that the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) claim that glyphosate is not genotoxic cannot be justified on the basis of manufacturers’ studies. Of the 53 industry-funded studies used for the EU’s current authorization of glyphosate, 34 were identified as „not reliable“, 17 as „partly reliable“ and only 2 studies as „reliable“ from a methodological point of view.

Several civil society organizations from the successful European Citizen Initiative (ECI) „Stop Glyphosate“ (2) are calling on the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to take into account these new findings in the new authorization procedure of glyphosate, which are very worrying from an environmental and health point of view (3).

Genotoxicity studies indicate the risk of cancer and reproductive damage posed by a chemical. Public authorities that were involved in the previous European authorization procedure – namely the German Health Authority BfR and EFSA – wrongfully accepted these industry studies as key evidence of the absence of glyphosate genotoxicity. EFSA used this flawed science as a basis to contradict the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)’s 2015 conclusion that glyphosate does in fact “probably cause cancer”.

The current approval of glyphosate on the EU market is expiring on 15 December 2022. A first screening of industry’s 2020 new glyphosate application dossier shows that 38 of the 53 genotoxicity studies on “pure” glyphosate submitted in the previous assessment have been submitted once more to the EU authorities by Bayer Agriculture BV, on behalf of the Glyphosate Renewal Group.

Angeliki Lyssimachou, Environmental Scientist at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) said: “This new scientific analysis shows yet again that the European Union’s claim to having the most rigorous pesticide authorization procedure in the world has to be taken with a heavy grain of salt. The authorization procedure in place is evidently not rigorous enough to detect errors in the execution of the regulatory studies that are blindly considered the gold standard. Yet these were at the heart of the 2017 EU-market approval of glyphosate, and they have now been submitted again in an effort to water down scientific evidence that glyphosate may cause cancer and is a danger to human health.”

Helmut Burtscher, Biochemist at GLOBAL 2000 said: “If you subtract from the 53 genotoxicity studies, those studies that are not reliable and those studies that are of minor importance for the assessment of genotoxicity in humans, then nothing remains. Nothing, except the question on what basis the EU authorities have claimed that glyphosate is ’not genotoxic‘. Did they have a crystal ball?”

Peter Clausing, Toxicologist at Pesticide Action Network Germany (PAN Germany) said:  “A rigorous authorization procedure is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition to protect the health of the people and the environment. In 2017 the authorities of the European Union violated their own rules to ensure an outcome that pleased the chemical industry. Not much is achieved, if rules and recommendations are on paper, but not applied.”

Nina Holland, Researcher at Corporate Europe Observatory said: „The last re-approval process of glyphosate caused huge controversies, as Monsanto was shown to be undermining the science regarding the harmful effects of glyphosate. This new scientific review puts once more a finger on a sore spot: that national regulators and EU authorities alike do not seem to pay close scrutiny when looking at the quality of industry’s own studies. This is shocking as it is their job to protect people’s health and the environment, not serve the interests of the pesticide industry.“

Eoin Dubsky, Campaigner at SumOfUs said: “People are sick of glyphosate, and we’re sick of being lied to. That’s why SumOfUs members funded this important analysis, and why we’ll keep campaigning until this herbicide is banned. How could EFSA give glyphosate a thumbs-up based on such shoddy scientific studies, when IARC warned that it’s genotoxic, and probably cancer-causing too?”


You can find the scientific study here

You can find a Q&A on the study here

You can find a short backgrounder on what happened so far in the glyphosate dossier here


For more information and interview requests:

Helmut Burtscher, Biochemist at GLOBAL 2000: helmut@global2000.at and +43 69914200034

Angeliki Lyssimachou, Environmental Scientist at Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL): angeliki@env-health.org and +32 496 392930

Nina Holland, Researcher at Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO): nina@corporateeurope.org and +32  466294420

Peter Clausing, Toxicologist at Pesticide Action Network Germany (PAN Germany): peter.clausing@pan-germany.org and  +49 176 4379 5932.

Eoin Dubsky, Campaigner at SumOfUs: eoin@sumofus.org and +31 641636410


Notes to the editor:

(1) The scientific analysis was conducted by Armen Nersesyan and Prof. Siegfried Knasmueller, two renowned experts on genotoxicity testing, from the Institute of Cancer Research at the Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna. No less than 34 out of 53 industry-funded genotoxicity studies used for the EU’s current authorization of glyphosate were identified by the scientists as „not reliable“, because of substantial deviations from OECD Test Guideline, which can be expected to impair the sensitivity and accuracy of the test system. As for the rest of the 53 studies, 17 were „partly reliable“ and only 2 studies „reliable“.

(2) Stop Glyphosate – European Citizens‘ Initiative to Ban Glyphosate

(3) The European Commission and member states are gearing up to review the current approval of glyphosate, which expires on 15 December 2022. The industry has started the process to renew it. The assessment of the application for EU renewal of glyphosate was performed by the AGG, consisting of the authorities for the assessment of active ingredients of France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden (the last assessment procedure was handled by Germany alone). The assessment was sent to EFSA on 15 June and was based on a dossier submitted last summer by the applicants, the Glyphosate Renewal Group (GRG). See: pesticides_aas_agg_report_202106.pdf (europa.eu)

Glyphosate is the most widely-used pesticide in the world. Exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides has been linked to certain types of cancer, as well as to adverse effects on the development and hormonal system.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that glyphosate „probably causes cancer“. Yet in 2017, glyphosate was reauthorised on the European market until December 2022 by representatives of European governments. This decision was criticised heavily by civil society groups and scientists alike for lacking transparency and scientific objectivity, being predominantly based on industry-sponsored studies and overlooking findings from academic independent literature.

Back in 2015 – 2017 civil society and members of the European Parliament managed to reduce the glyphosate authorization in the European Union from 15 years to 5 years. More importantly, the campaign raised awareness on the toxicity of glyphosate-based products, the major problems underlying the pesticide authorization system and how there are alternatives to glyphosate in agriculture.

In March 2019 four Green Members of the European Parliament got a positive ruling from the ECJ (https://www.greens-efa.eu/en/article/press/ecj-ruling-a-victory-in-the-fight-for-health-transparency-and-the-environment ) stating EFSA should publish all (secret) studies around the cancer risks of glyphosate. NGO SumOfUs requested 54 genotoxicity studies from EFSA and started a crowd funding action to be able to pay independent scientists to screen these studies.

Invitation: Online launch event and discussion of a new study

Double Standards and Hazardous Pesticides from Bayer and BASF
A glimpse behind the scenes of the international trade in pesticide active ingredients

Presentation of the study and discussion with
Peter Clausing (PAN Germany), Wiebke Beushausen (INKOTA-netzwerk, Germany), Colette Solomon (Women on Farms, South Africa), and Irma Gómez (Alianza Maya por las Abejas, Mexico), Moderation: Jan Urhahn (Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Southern Africa)

When: Tuesday, 27 April 2021, 18:30 to 20:00 (CEST)

Where and how: The event will take place as an online discussion via Zoom providing simultaneous interpretation (English / German).

Registration: https://inkota-de.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_BSHBOtBIS0Gw-clRP2fh7w

The agrochemical companies Bayer and BASF continue to market pesticides and active ingredients in the Global South that are not approved or even banned in the EU due to the risks they pose to the environment or human health. Such business practices are legal, but increasingly criticized as double standards.

The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, the INKOTA-netzwerk, and PAN Germany have taken a glimpse behind the scenes of the international trade in pesticide active ingredients, focusing on the two German agrochemical giants, Bayer and BASF. The new study sheds light on the use of Bayer and BASF active ingredients in Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa, and the harm these chemicals bring with them.

The list of active ingredients highly hazardous to human health that have found their way around the world through Bayer and BASF is long. Terms like glufosinate, spirodiclofen, and (beta-)cyfluthrin conceal concrete hazards: they are highly toxic, probably carcinogenic or mutagenic.

The study reveals which highly hazardous active ingredients were developed and/or marketed by these two German agrochemical corporations. They are still marketed by them in some cases even today, albeit sometimes in a hidden manner. This in-depth analysis of the pesticides and active ingredients markets in South Africa, Brazil and Mexico reveals the extent and non-transparency of the lucrative business with hazardous pesticides. This contrasts with the devastating effects of pesticide use on the health of indigenous people and farmworkers in the three countries.

The authors and activists will present the results of the study and discuss further questions in an open format.

A joint event by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, the INKOTA-netzwerk, and PAN Germany.

Une nouvelle étude révèle une hausse spectaculaire des empoisonnements aux pesticides

Les empoisonnements dans le monde sont passés de 25 millions en 1990 à 385 millions aujourd’hui

Pour diffusion immédiate : 9 Décembre 2020

Dans une étude exhaustive publiée aujourd’hui, des scientifiques signalent que les empoisonnements aux pesticides dans les exploitations agricoles du monde entier ont augmenté de façon spectaculaire depuis la dernière évaluation mondiale, il y a 30 ans. Sur la base d’une évaluation des données disponibles sur les empoisonnements dans les pays du monde entier, les chercheurs concluent qu’il y a environ 385 millions de cas d’empoisonnements aigus chaque année, contre 25 millions de cas estimés en 1990.

Cela signifie qu’environ 44 % de la population mondiale travaillant dans des exploitations agricoles – soit 860 millions d’agriculteurs et de travailleurs agricoles – sont empoisonnés chaque année.

L’étude systématique des empoisonnements aigus involontaires par les pesticides a été publiée aujourd’hui dans la revue à comité de lecture BMC Public Health. L’article, intitulé „The global distribution of acute unintentional pesticide poisoning : Estimations based on a systematic review“ (La répartition mondiale des intoxications aiguës par les pesticides : Estimations basées sur une revue systématique), est la première estimation mondiale de ce type depuis 1990.

« Ces résultats soulignent l’urgence de réduire et d’éliminer l’utilisation des pesticides très dangereux », déclare Kristin Schafer, coordinatrice de Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International. « Ces pesticides provoquent l’empoisonnement inacceptable de ceux qui produisent notre alimentation, mais aussi des effets chroniques sur la santé, tels que des cancers, et des impacts écologiques, comme l’effondrement de la biodiversité. Il est grand temps d’agir au niveau mondial ».

L’étude a montré que le plus grand nombre de cas d’empoisonnement non mortels se situait en Asie du Sud, suivie de l’Asie du Sud-Est et de l’Afrique de l’Est. L’incidence nationale la plus élevée a été enregistrée au Burkina Faso, où près de 84 % des agriculteurs et des ouvriers agricoles sont victimes chaque année d’empoisonnements aigus non intentionnels aux pesticides.

On estime à environ 11.000 le nombre total de décès dans le monde dus à des empoisonnements involontaires par les pesticides chaque année. Près de 60 % de ces décès surviennent dans un seul pays, l’Inde, ce qui indique de graves problèmes liés à l’utilisation des pesticides, selon les chercheurs.

« Les empoisonnements aux pesticides sont une crise de santé publique qui doit être traitée », a déclaré Sarojeni Rengam, directrice exécutive de PAN Asia Pacific. « Au-delà de la souffrance immédiate, les empoisonnements peuvent aussi refléter une exposition qui cause des effets chroniques à long terme sur la santé. Il est choquant et honteux que ce problème se soit aggravé au lieu de s’améliorer au cours des 30 dernières années ».

Les auteurs de la nouvelle étude ont procédé à un examen systématique de la littérature scientifique publiée entre 2006 et 2018, en sélectionnant un total de 157 articles, après en avoir évalué plus de 800 pour déterminer leur admissibilité selon des critères établis, ainsi que des données supplémentaires provenant de la base de données de l’OMS sur les causes de décès. Les données ont couvert 141 pays au total. La plupart des études se sont concentrées sur les empoisonnements professionnels, en particulier chez les agriculteurs et les travailleurs agricoles.

« Nous sommes conscients des limites des données sur les empoisonnements par les pesticides », note Javier Souza, coordinateur de PAN Amérique latine. « Mais cette étude montre clairement qu’il s’agit d’un problème grave et mondial qui justifie une action immédiate. Les pesticides hautement dangereux doivent être éliminés progressivement d’ici 2030 pour atteindre les objectifs mondiaux de développement durable, et nous devons nous tourner vers des systèmes plus sains et plus résilients, comme l’agroécologie. »

L’estimation du nombre d’empoisonnements non intentionnels non mortels par les pesticides dans le monde est sensiblement plus élevée dans cette nouvelle étude que les estimations précédentes. Cela s’explique en partie par le fait que l’étude actuelle couvre un plus grand nombre de pays, mais aussi par le fait que l’utilisation des pesticides a augmenté de 81 % depuis 1990 (on estime que 4,1 millions de tonnes de pesticides ont été utilisées dans le monde en 2017). Les estimations relativement faibles du nombre de décès sont dues, selon les chercheurs, à leur sous-déclaration. La sous-déclaration est également un problème pour les empoisonnements aux pesticides en général, car de nombreux systèmes de déclaration, spécifiques à chaque pays, ne disposent pas d’un point central de déclaration ou d’un mécanisme juridique exigeant la déclaration des incidents.

Les auteurs concluent que le lourd tribut que représentent les empoisonnements non mortels non intentionnels par les pesticides, en particulier pour les agriculteurs et les travailleurs agricoles, met en évidence la tendance des politiques actuelles à ne se concentrer que sur les décès, et la nécessité de s’attaquer plus sérieusement au problème global des empoisonnements par les pesticides dans les politiques et réglementations internationales et nationales.

Note aux journalistes : Bien que cette étude ne couvre pas les suicides par empoisonnement aux pesticides, on estime que 14 millions de personnes sont mortes par suicide en utilisant des pesticides depuis la révolution verte des années 1960. Un récent examen systématique des données sur les suicides de 2006 à 2015, que cette étude n’a pas couverts, a révélé que les pesticides représentaient 14 à 20 % des suicides dans le monde, entraînant 110.000 à 168.000 décès par an au cours de la période 2010-2014.


Contacts presse:

Disponible pour interviews:

Sarojeni Rengam, PAN Asia Pacific – Sarojeni.rengam@panap.net
Susan Haffmans, PAN Germany – Susan.haffmans@pan-germany.org
Javier Souza, PAN Latin America (Espagnol) – javierrapal@yahoo.com.ar
Maimouna Diene, PAN Africa (Français) – maimounadiene@pan-afrique.org

 Pesticide Action Network International (PAN) est un réseau de plus de 600 organisations non gouvernementales, institutions et individus dans plus de 90 pays, qui travaillent à remplacer l’utilisation de pesticides dangereux par des alternatives écologiquement saines et socialement justes. Le PAN a été fondé en 1982 et compte cinq centres régionaux indépendants qui collaborent à la mise en œuvre de ses projets et campagnes. Vous pouvez trouver plus d’informations à l’adresse suivante http://pan-international.org.

New study reveals dramatic rise in global pesticide poisonings

Worldwide poisonings up from 25 million in 1990 to 385 million today

For immediate release: December 9, 2020

In a comprehensive study, scientists report that pesticide poisonings on farms around the world have risen dramatically since the last global assessment 30 years ago. Based on an evaluation of available poisoning data from countries all over the world, the researchers conclude that there are about 385 million cases of acute poisonings each year, up from an estimated 25 million cases in 1990.

This means that about 44% of the global population working on farms — 860 million farmers and agricultural workers – are poisoned every year.

The systematic review of unintentional acute pesticide poisonings was published today in the peer-reviewed  journal BMC Public Health. The article, entitled “The global distribution of acute unintentional pesticide poisoning: Estimations based on a systematic review,” is the first such global estimate since 1990.

“These findings underscore the urgency of reducing and eliminating the use of highly hazardous pesticides,” says Kristin Schafer, coordinator of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International. “These pesticides are causing the unacceptable poisoning of those who produce our food, but also chronic health effects such as cancer and ecological impacts such as the collapse of biodiversity. Time for global action is long overdue.”

The study found that the greatest number of non-fatal poisoning cases was in southern Asia, followed by Southeast Asia and East Africa. The highest single national incidence was in Burkina Faso, where nearly 84% of farmers and farm workers experience unintentional acute pesticide poisonings annually.

Total fatalities around the world from unintended pesticide poisonings are estimated at around 11,000 deaths per year. Nearly 60% of which occur in just one country, India, indicating serious problems with pesticide use, according to the researchers.

“Pesticide poisonings are a public health crisis that must be addressed,” said Sarojeni Rengam, Executive Director of PAN Asia Pacific. “Beyond the immediate suffering, poisonings can also reflect exposure that cause long term, chronic health effects. It’s shocking and shameful that this problem has gotten worse rather than better over the past 30 years.”

The authors of the new study conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature published between 2006 and 2018, selecting a total of 157 papers after assessing over 800 papers for eligibility according to set criteria, and additional data from the WHO cause-of-death database. The data covered 141 countries in total. Most studies focused on occupational poisonings, particularly of farmers and agricultural workers.

“We realize there are limitations in the data on pesticide poisonings,” notes Javier Souza, PAN Latin America’s coordinator. “But this study clearly shows this as a serious, global problem that warrants immediate action. Highly hazardous pesticides must be phased out by 2030 to meet global Sustainable Development Goals, and we must shift to healthier and more resilient systems like agroecology. ”

The estimated number of global nonfatal unintended pesticide poisonings in the current study is significantly greater than previous estimates. This is in part because the current study covers a greater number of countries, and also because there has been an 81% increase in pesticide use since 1990 (an estimated 4.1 million tonnes of pesticides were used worldwide in 2017). The researchers point to underreporting to explain the relatively low estimates of fatalities. Underreporting is also an issue for pesticide poisonings overall, as many country-specific reporting systems lack a central reporting point or lack a legal mechanism requiring incident reporting.

The authors conclude that the heavy burden of non-fatal unintended pesticide poisonings, particularly for farmers and farmworkers, brings into focus the current policy bias towards focusing only on fatalities, and the need to more seriously address the overall pesticide poisoning problem in international and national policies and regulations.

Note to reporters: While this study did not cover pesticide poisoning suicides, an estimated 14 million people have died from suicide using pesticides since the Green Revolution in the 1960s. A recent systematic review of data on suicides from 2006-2015, which this review did not cover, found that pesticides accounted for 14-20% of global suicides leading to 110,000-168,000 deaths annually during the period 2010-2014.


Media contacts:

Available for interviews:

  • Sarojeni Rengam, PAN Asia Pacific – Sarojeni.rengam@panap.net
  • Susan Haffmans, PAN Germany – Susan.haffmans@pan-germany.org
  • Javier Souza, PAN Latin America (Spanish) – javierrapal@yahoo.com.ar
  • Maimouna Diene, PAN Africa (French) – maimounadiene@pan-afrique.org

 Pesticide Action Network International (PAN) is a network of over 600 participating nongovernmental organizations, institutions and individuals in over 90 countries working to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. PAN was founded in 1982 and has five independent, collaborating Regional Centers that implement its projects and campaigns. You can find more information at http://pan-international.org.

Global Outrage at FAO Plans to Partner with Pesticide Industry

Hundreds of civil society and Indigenous Peoples organizations call on the UN agency to renounce planned alliance with CropLife International

Rome – Today 350 organizations in 63 countries representing hundreds of thousands of farmers, fisherfolk, agricultural workers and other communities, as well as human rights, faith-based, environmental and economic justice institutions, delivered a letter to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Qu Dongyu urging him to stop recently-announced plans to deepen collaboration with CropLife International by entering into a formal partnership.

CropLife is a global trade association representing the interests of companies that produce and promote pesticides, including highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs). According to the letter, HHPs “are responsible for a wide range of devastating health harms to farmers, agricultural workers and rural families around the world,” and these chemicals have “decimated pollinator populations and are wreaking havoc on biodiversity and fragile ecosystems” as well.

“This proposed alliance is deeply inappropriate and directly undermines FAO’s goals of supporting food systems that are healthy, resilient and productive while safeguarding the sustainability of the environment,” says Sarojeni Rengam, Director of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Asia Pacific. “CropLife’s purpose, on the other hand, is to advocate for continued use of the pesticides that its members sell. These hazardous and antiquated chemical solutions pose deadly obstacles to the urgently needed transition to innovative, knowledge-intensive ecological approaches to farming.”

Ms. Rengam delivered the letter today on behalf of PAN International, ten other co-sponsoring organizations and networks, and hundreds of signatories.

The letter highlights a recent analysis of industry records that documents that CropLife member companies BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agriscience, FMC and Syngenta make more than one-third of their sales income from highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) — the pesticides that are most harmful to human health and the environment. The proportion of HHP sales is even higher in developing countries, the letter says, where safety regulations are often less robust and harms to human health and the environment are greater.

“So many of our Yaqui children have died and suffered lifelong disabilities from exposure to toxic pesticides that were banned by the countries that exported them to be used in our territories,” said Mariano Ochoa Millan, former Board member for the International Indian Treaty Council from Rio Yaqui Sonora, Mexico. Millan, who passed away from COVID-19 on August 31, made this statement in response to the July 9, 2020 statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics calling on wealthy nations to halt the practice of exporting banned pesticides. Many of CropLife’s member companies are strong proponents of this practice.

Today’s letter was co-sponsored by a broad-based group of global networks and international organizations: Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), FIAN International, Friends of the Earth International, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers‘ Associations (IUF), Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International, Public Eye and Third World Network.

Marcia Ishii, senior scientist at PAN North America, explained the serious implications of the proposed collaboration: “FAO’s decision to initiate a formal partnership with CropLife is bad news for the millions of farmers whose health and livelihoods have been devastated by the highly hazardous pesticides manufactured by CropLife member companies. Unfortunately, since Mr. Qu’s arrival at FAO, the institution appears to be opening up to deeper collaboration with pesticide companies, which are likely to exploit such a relationship for bluewashing, influencing policy development, and enhancing access to global markets. It is no surprise that FAO’s recently appointed Deputy Director General, Beth Bechdol, comes to FAO with a history of close financial ties to Corteva (formerly Dow/DuPont), a Croplife member headquartered in Bechdol’s home state of Indiana, USA.”

An international group of 286 scientists and researchers have also expressed concern about the proposed alliance, delivering a letter to Director-General Qu Dongyu today, urging him not to pursue a formalization of FAO’s collaboration with CropLife.



Joint letter with full list of signatories (also available here as pdf)

PAN International list of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs)

Public Eye pesticide industry analysis

IAASTD report, 10 years later

FAO’s proposed formalization of partnership with CropLife 

Additional quotes from co-sponsoring partners:

Shiney Varghese, senior policy analyst with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, notes that while FAO says it wants to minimize the harms of pesticides worldwide, CropLife members made more than a third of their income from sales of highly hazardous pesticides in 2018. “In the context of this proposed FAO-CropLife partnership, what is even more important is that many of those sales were made to farmers in low- and middle-income countries like Brazil, India and Thailand, while only 27 percent were made in high income countries. It’s not surprising that CropLife International would want to have a partnership, but why would FAO want to put these low- and middle-income countries at risk?”

„We need a strong FAO, independent of the pesticide industry and free from the market interests of global corporations, committed to safe, healthy food and sustainable farming systems for the benefit of all people,” says Susan Haffmans from PAN Germany. “With its commitment to agroecology, FAO has embarked on this sustainable path. The FAO should not jeopardize its successes in agroecology nor its integrity by cooperating with precisely that branch of industry which is responsible for the production of highly hazardous pesticides and whose products contribute to poisoning people and their environment worldwide.“

“In Latin America, we need policies that support the phasing out Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) and scaling up of agroecology. The proposed partnership between FAO and CropLife would undermine this aim,“ said Fernando Bejarano,  Hub coordinator for the IPEN Latin America Office who supervised several HHPs country situation reports in the region.

Die EU muss endlich umweltverschmutzende Pharmazeutika-Hersteller in die Pflicht nehmen

Anlässlich der Verabschiedung einer Resolution über Arzneimittel in der Umwelt am Donnerstag, den 17. September 2020 im Europäischen Parlaments, fordern zahlreiche europäische Organisationen, darunter Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe , European Environment Bureau (EEB) und PAN Germany in einer gemeinsamen Presseerklärung ein entschiedenes Handeln der EU gegen Umweltverschmutzungen durch Arzneimittel und machen insbesondere auf die Verbreitung von Antibiotika-Resistenzen über die Umwelt aufmerksam.

Insbesondere in der Nähe von Arzneimittelherstellungsanlagen ist die Belastung von Oberflächen- und Grundwassersystemen mit Arzneimittelrückständen groß. Dies kann schwerwiegende Auswirkungen auf die Gesundheit und die Lebensgrundlagen der Menschen haben, darunter Hautkrankheiten, Fischsterben und vergiftetes Vieh.

Trotz der alarmierenden und bekannten Risiken macht die EU bislang keine Umweltauflagen für die Herstellung von Medikamenten, die auf dem europäischen Markt verkauft werden. Dies muss sich aus Sicht der NGOs ändern.

Hier geht es zur gemeinsamen englischsprachigen Presseerklärung.

UN Press Release: States must stop exporting unwanted toxic chemicals to poorer countries, says UN expert

GENEVA (9. July 2020) – The practice of wealthy States exporting their banned toxic chemicals to poorer nations lacking the capacity to control the risks is deplorable and must end, a UN expert said today, with the endorsement of 35 fellow experts of the Human Rights Council.