EU bans popular fungicide chlorothalonil, citing ‘high risk’ to amphibians, fish and bumblebees

hunts bumblebee blogheader Tom Koerner USFWS fw x e
Image: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

One of the world’s most common pesticides will soon be banned by the European Union after safety officials reported human health and environmental concerns.

Chlorothalonil, a fungicide that prevents mildew and mold on crops, is the most used pesticide in the UK, applied to millions of hectares of fields, and is the most popular fungicide in the US. Farmers called the ban “overly precautionary.”

But EU states voted for a ban after a review by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) was unable to exclude the possibility that breakdown products of the chemical cause damage to DNA. Efsa also said “a high risk to amphibians and fish was identified for all representative uses.” Recent research further identified chlorothalonil and other fungicides as the strongest factor linked to steep declines in bumblebees.

Related article:  Viewpoint: EU opposition to CRISPR crops threatens sustainable farming in developing world

However, Chris Hartfield from the UK’s National Farmers Union, said chlorothalonil played a vital role in controlling fungal diseases: “We feel the European commission has been overly precautionary in making this decision and has failed to consider the particular importance of this [pesticide] in the control of critical fungal diseases and in managing disease resistance….”

Read full, original article: EU bans UK’s most-used pesticide over health and environment fears

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