LTO Nederland and its subsidiary Nefyto support the importance of a good risk assessment of chemical plant protection products. This should be done on the basis of current scientific ideas.
Both organizations respond to the report that RIVM argues in favor of modifying the risk assessment of plant protection products due to potential effects on the nervous system. Following research by the LNV Department, the RIVM concluded that there is a reasonable link between exposure to chemicals, including crop protection products, and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
LTO states that farmers and horticulturalists must be able to rely on the fact that the products they use are safe for humans, animals and the environment. The organization is of the opinion that if new information shows that resource assessment can be improved, then it should act on that basis.
Minister Joe Ottenheim stated that Neveto embraces advanced insights from science. He adds that it is good that the adjustment to the risk assessment of plant protection products is implemented at least at the EU level.
LTO also notes that the licensing of crop protection active substances is a European issue. It is therefore pleased that the RIVM is recommending the establishment of a European working group to shape the amendments to the risk assessment. In addition to accumulating knowledge, this also ensures a level playing field for Dutch farmers in Europe.
Both LTO and Nefyto stress that the RIVM report makes no statement about the current health risks of users or residents living near crop plots. LTO notes that previous research by RIVM has shown that local residents are not exposed to any increased health risks. According to Ottenheim, none of the active substances authorized in Europe are associated with nervous system disorders based on current science.
Concerns about the resource package
Finally, the LTO is concerned about the possible consequences of the RIVM results for the resource package available across all sectors. Joris Baecke, portfolio owner, Plant Health, says the tightening of risk assessment is on top of stricter assessment frameworks and higher ambitions for the European Green Deal.
The development of effective and affordable alternatives is well behind this trend. We therefore call on the Dutch government, in addition to focusing on sound evaluation frameworks, to make an effort to speed up the renewal of farmers’ tool boxes. More and more farmers and horticulturalists are facing problems. Becky quickly explains the situation.