On October 3, 2019, the European Commission informed the World Trade Organization of its decision to deny the application for the reassessment of chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl for public use.
Chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl were approved
and used in European countries under the old regulation of Directive 91/414/EEC.
The application for reassessment is based on the new regulation of Regulation
No 1107/2009. During the evaluation among EU members, a variety of problems
related to Chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl remained unsolved. These
problems were listed in a statement issued by the European Food Safety
Authority (EFSA) in August 2019. The statement gives the main reasons that the
two substances are disqualified for applying the reassessment.
First, based on the former data, it cannot
be proven that chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl do not contain potential genotoxicity;
the dietary risk assessment cannot be implemented without a toxicological
Second, the current research data shows
that chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl particularly affect the nervous
system and cause developmental neurotoxicity in mice. Research from
epidemiology also shows that children exposed to chlorpyrifos can suffer
various neurodevelopmental effects, leading to several defects such as autism,
memory loss, lower IQ, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Third, chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl
are classified as reproductive toxicants category 1B under CLP, causing adverse
effect on fetus development.
According to the regulation (EC) No
1107/2009, plant protection products on the market should not harm human health
and the environment. Considering the result from the evaluation among EU
members and the statement of EFSA, the application for reassessing chlorpyrifos
and chlorpyrifos-methyl is disqualified.
The expiration date of the last assessment for
chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl is to January 31, 2021, which means that
products on the European market related to chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl
will stop being sold and need to withdraw from the market before that date.
In the United States, chlorpyrifos has been banned in household products since the year 2000, due to its harmful effects on the brain and central nervous system. In 2015, the USA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a complete ban on use of the herbicide within the country, but this proposal was withdrawn by Scott Pruitt, an EPA appointee of the Trump administration. In 2018, however, the state of Hawaii introduced a regulation prohibiting all use chlorpyrifos starting from January 2019, becoming the first state in the United States to impose an overall ban on the use of chlorpyrifos. Soon afterward, the state of New York also announced at the beginning of 2019 that chlorpyrifos will not be used after December 1, 2021. Additionally, California cancelled the registration of chlorpyrifos and imposed a ban on the use of chlorpyrifos in May of this year.
Chlorpyrifos was introduced to the
agricultural market in 1965 and gained popularity for its potency against a
wide variety of weed species. Chlorpyrifos became a vital part of agricultural
production over several decades, and some areas continue to employ chlorpyrifos
in removing weeds. However, in recent years, the use of chlorpyrifos has
declined in the developed world, and only a few countries remain that widely
use this herbicide. Currently, the most dominant consumers of chlorpyrifos are
China, India, and Brazil.
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