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Parliamentary question - E-002565/2022(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Ms Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission

The Commission is aware of the INSERM study[1] presuming a link between exposure to certain pesticides[2] and paediatric cancer, but acknowledges difficulties to link the effects observed to particular active substances therein.

Measures to combat childhood cancers include:

— Active substances cannot be approved for use in plant protection products (PPP), and PPPs containing them cannot be authorised, if harmful effects are expected on human health, including that of vulnerable groups[3]. Updated European Food Safety Authority guidance[4] to assess exposure to pesticides and the resulting risks for humans including children, was published in January 2022 and endorsed by the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed.

— Member States authorising PPP can impose particular conditions or restrictions, for instance no-spray buffer zones around certain areas. In addition, under the existing Sustainable Use Directive[5] the use of pesticides in areas used by general public or vulnerable groups (e.g. parks, schools) has to be minimised or prohibited. The Commission’s proposal for a Sustainable Use Regulation[6] foresees mandatory no-spray buffer zones around such areas.

— The Commission created the European Reference Networks (ERNs)[7] on rare and complex diseases to help patients (children in most cases) to access specialists’ care across the EU: ERN PaedCan[8] focuses on paediatric haematological cancers, GENTURIS[9] on genetic tumour risk syndromes, and EuroBloodNet[10] on rare haematological diseases.

— Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan[11] and the Horizon Europe Cancer Mission[12] include initiatives on paediatric cancer, e.g. supporting research and innovation in childhood cancer and the ‘Helping Children with Cancer Initiative’.

Last updated: 12 September 2022
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