LTO Nederland and the sector organization Nefyto recognize the importance of a good risk assessment of plant protection chemicals. This should be done on the basis of current scientific knowledge.
The two organizations respond to the report in which the RIVM calls for an adjustment of the risk assessment of plant protection products due to the possible effects on the nervous system. After research commissioned by the LNV ministry, the RIVM concludes that there is a plausible link between exposure to chemicals, including plant protection products, and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
LTO says that farmers and horticulturalists need to be able to trust that the products they use are safe for humans, animals and the environment. The organization believes that if new information shows that the resource assessment can be improved, action should be taken accordingly.
Secretary Jo Ottenheim says Nefyto embraces advances in science. He adds that it is a good thing that the adjustment of the risk assessment of plant protection products is implemented at least at EU level.
LTO also recalls that the authorization of active substances for crop protection is a European matter. It is therefore pleased that the RIVM recommends the establishment of a European working group to shape the adjustments of the risk assessment. In addition to pooling knowledge, this also ensures a level playing field for Dutch producers in Europe.
LTO and Nefyto point out that the RIVM report does not make any statement on current health risks for users or residents living near cultivated plots. LTO points out that previous research from the RIVM has shown that local residents are not at increased health risk. According to Ottenheim, none of the active substances authorized in Europe are associated with disorders of the nervous system on the basis of current science.
Concerns about the resource bundle
Finally, LTO is concerned about the possible consequences of the RIVM’s conclusions on all the resources available in all sectors. Plant Health portfolio holder Joris Baecke said the tightening of risk assessment is in addition to already tighter assessment frameworks and high ambitions of the European Green Deal.
“The development of effective and affordable alternatives is far behind this trend. We therefore call on the Dutch government, in addition to focusing on strong evaluation frameworks, to make an effort to speed up the replenishment of producer toolkits. More and more farmers and horticulturalists are in trouble. The situation is urgent, ”explains Baecke.
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