The European Commission's public consultation on defining criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors (EDs) runs until 16th January, meaning the clock is ticking for people to respond. The Crop Protection Association has submitted its own response, which highlights the potentially damaging impact for farmers and the food sector if important crop protection products are lost as result of the review.
The CPA, together with the National Farmers' Union (NFU) and the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), recently commissioned an independent report by consultants Andersons, which looked at the impact of the loss or restriction of crop protection products through European regulation over the next 5 to 7 years. The analysis showed 40 substances at high risk of being lost would mean yield decreases of 4-50%, depending on crop, with UK Total Income from Farming dropping by £1.73 billion, a 36% fall in overall profits. The report found that 17 substances, almost half of those at high risk of being lost or restricted, were as a result of the endocrine disruption criteria.
CPA Chief Executive, Nick von Westenholz, said, "Depending on how the EU chooses to define an ED, we could see a dramatic fall in the number of crop protection products available to farmers. It's crucial that those involved in agriculture take the opportunity to respond to this consultation, to ensure the European Commission understands the impact their final decision could have on farming in the UK."
Mr von Westenholz said that the EU's criteria should evaluate endocrine active substances based on risk assessment, considering both hazard and exposure, and that the final criteria should clearly distinguish those substances that are of high regulatory concern from those that are not. "Using cut-offs based simply on hazard fails to take into account all relevant scientific information and does not provide a suitable basis for regulatory decision making," he said.
"The crop protection industry takes the issue of endocrine disruptors seriously," he added. "It's important we reach a sensible definition as part of this process, so that we maintain proper safeguards for public health while giving farmers access to vital products for their businesses.