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 Full text 
Tuesday, 12 February 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Sustainable use of pesticides (debate)

  John Stuart Agnew (ENF). – Mr President, we can split the fashionable objection to pesticides into two categories.

The first is human health and safety. There are now a cohort of individuals who have spent at least 30 years handling the concentrated material and being exposed to the vapour. Their exposure is perhaps as high as 1 000 times that of the ordinary citizen. Some of the products used 20 years ago have been banned on toxicity grounds. These workers, who include myself, should have all died long ago if the scare tactics of the green lobby are to be believed.

The second is environmental impact. It is quite true that overuse and misuse of pesticides will harm wildlife and pollute watercourses. Their use has, however, allowed world food production to keep pace with world demand, which organic farming methods could not hope to have done.

Nevertheless, the industry is not complacent about the situation and a big effort has been made to reduce dependency on pesticides by using modern plant-breeding methods to create varieties that require substantially less pesticide use.

The reaction of the European green lobby to this successful technology is to ban it.

You cannot have it both ways.

Last updated: 28 June 2019Legal notice