The assumption by regulators around the world that it is safe to use pesticides at industrial scales across landscapes is false, according to a chief scientific adviser to the UK government.
“The current assumption underlying pesticide regulation – that chemicals that pass a battery of tests in the laboratory or in field trials are environmentally benign when they are used at industrial scales – is false,” state [two] scientists in their article published in the journal Science. Ian Boyd is chief scientific adviser to the UK’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, where [Alice Milner] also works on secondment, but their criticism reflects their own views.
“The effects of dosing whole landscapes with chemicals have been largely ignored by regulatory systems,” the scientists said.… They contrast this situation with pharmaceuticals, for which there is a system of rigorous global monitoring after a drug is approved in case adverse effects emerge.
“Vigilance on the scale that is required for medicines does not exist to assess the effects of pesticides in the environment,” they said. They cite the UK as an example of one of the most developed regulatory systems: “Yet it has no systematic monitoring of pesticide residues in the environment. There is no consideration of safe pesticide limits at landscape scales.”
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