Viewpoint: Pesticide regulations should assess societal context, not just safety

Apart from the inherent scientific complexity, the glyphosate case illustrates a fundamental societal issue. The mere fact that the European Citizens’ Initiative attracted so many adherents is indicative of a wide societal aversion to the massive increase in the production of chemicals and their use in pesticide-based agricultural mass production. Public concern is not only limited to glyphosate but also covers other chemicals such as neonicotinoids, endocrine-disrupting compounds, and food additives.

Presently there is no societal assessment in pesticide registration. Recently, a promising framework for the combination of cost-benefit analyses with factors such as risk perception, uncertainty, and trust in regulatory decision-making on toxic substances in food, including pesticides, has been proposed. We argue that including such a framework in pesticide authorization would be an appropriate way to take factors such as citizens’ initiatives, societal attitudes toward agricultural chemicals, and economic benefits of chemical pest and weed control into account.

Related article:  EPA's assessment of neonics in citrus 'misleading,' threatens citrus industry

It is time for a new scheme for pesticide evaluation in which regulatory decision-making takes into account not only the technical evidence on safety but also the societal context in which decisions are made.

Read full, original post: Decision-making in a storm of discontent

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2 thoughts on “Viewpoint: Pesticide regulations should assess societal context, not just safety”

  1. “The discrepancy between IARC’s conclusions and the EU, FAO-WHO, and EPA
    assessments has been attributed to the use of different datasets and methods to evaluate the data (5), which points to a lack of international standardization of risk assessment procedures.”
    Since the evaluation carried out by IARC was not a risk assessment, I don’t see how this discrepancy “points to” any particular weakness in risk assessment procedures.

  2. Most of society is not qualified to participate. those not qualified should not have a say. societal context is just an excuse to ban products by making up a fancy term for what we know is just incompetence and false equivalence.

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