November 4, 1997
Denmark Considers Total Pesticide Ban
In response to calls from members of parliament to make the
country totally organic by 2010, the Danish government is
initiating an assessment of the impacts of a total pesticide
ban in the country. The Danish Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) is establishing a committee of experts to
analyze how a ban would affect the country's economy,
environment, health, employment and agricultural production.
The committee, which will hold its first meeting in late
1997, will deliver a report to the Ministers of Environment
and Energy by the end of 1998.
Officials from Denmark's EPA stated that the committee is not
charged with making recommendations, only with assessing the
feasibility of different plans, including total and partial
bans. According to Nina Herskind of the Danish EPA, "the
proposal does not automatically mean that Danish agriculture
will go totally organic in the next few years, it is just one
of the scenarios that we are seriously considering."
The committee of experts will include representatives from
government, the food and chemical industry, labor and
environmental, health and consumer organizations. It will be
assisted by four sub-committees comprised of independent
scientific experts. These will study the consequences of a
pesticide ban on farming in general; economics and
employment; environment and health; and legislative issues.
The legislative committee will focus primarily on how such a
policy would affect relationships with other European Union
(EU) member states.
Jesper Lund-Larsen, an official with the Danish General
Workers Union, which has been campaigning to phase out all
pesticides, stated, "I hope the committee will recommend a
total pesticide phaseout within a couple of years, and we are
looking for the rest of the EU to do the same eventually."
The Danish EPA recently announced bans and severe
restrictions on ten pesticides it considers "seriously
damaging" to health, the environment or both. These include
captan, deltamethrin, dichlorvos, diquat, fenarimol,
guazatine, iprodione, thiram, trifluralin and vinclozolin.
The restrictions will come into effect next year following
completion of reviews under the country's re-registration
process. This will bring the total number or pesticide bans
and severe restrictions in Denmark to approximately 30 since
1994, when Denmark banned atrazine, cyanazine, hexazinone,
lindane, paraquat, propachlor and thiabendazole. Bans and
severe restrictions on an additional 12 pesticides came into
effect earlier this year. These included 2,4-D, dazomet,
diazinon, dichlobenil, dichlorprop, dichlorprop-P, maleic
hydrazide, MCPA, mecoprop, mecoprop-P, thiophanate-methyl and
ziram. In addition, the Danish EPA announced in 1996 that
approximately 100 agrochemicals considered to have estrogenic
effects will be phased out before 2000.
In related news, the Danish agrochemical association (DAF)
said recently that pesticide sales in the country fell by 32%
in 1996. They stated that industry members had expected this
decline because 1995 sales were artificially high due to
advanced purchases in anticipation of new and higher taxes
under the Danish Pesticide Act, which came into effect on
January 1, 1996, and not because of increased usage.
Sources: Pesticides News 37, September 1997, The Pesticides
Trust; Agrow: World Crop Protection News, September 12,
August 15, July 11, 1997, and October 18, 1996.
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