EU agriculture ministers on Monday proposed stricter rules on the use of pesticides in Europe, including bans on those found to be carcinogenic or otherwise toxic to humans, though with some provisos.
All carcinogenic substances, along with those which upset the endocrinal system which controls hormones or the human reproductive system, will be banned from use in pesticides under the proposals which must also be approved by the European Parliament.
The initiative also encourages research into the development of less harmful pesticides.
However, amid reservations from several member states, the EU ministers agreed that in "exceptional cases, when available products do not offer sufficiently effective plant protection, other hazardous substances may be used, but only under strictly regulated conditions," and for no more than five years, the EU's Slovenian presidency said in a statement.
Slovenian Agriculture Minister Iztok Jarc stressed that the political agreement, reached after two years of discussions, was aimed at ensuring "the high standards needed to prevent harmful effects of plant protection products on human and animal health or the environment," according to the statement.
Under the new arrangements, professional consumers and producers of plant protection products will have to keep records of the use of pesticides.