Swiss NGO calls on agrochemical co Syngenta to take its most toxic pesticides off the market
In a report published in April 2019, Swiss NGO Public Eye alleges that agrochemical company Syngenta continues to sell highly hazardous pesticides, many of which no longer authorised in Switzerland or the European Union, to lower and middle income countires with weaker standards. Public Eye is calling on Syngenta to take its most toxic pesticides of the market and replace them with safer alternatives, as well as on the Swiss Government to implement mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence requirements for Swiss companies, as proposed by the Responsible Business Initiative, and support an international treaty to regulate the business of highly hazardous pesticides.
In response to the findings, Syngenta stated it was in favour of "regulating pesticides based on risks not hazards, and stressed that it complies with all of the regulatory and safety standards of the countries where its products are registered for sale". The Annex of the report also contains detailed responses from Syngenta to Public Eye.
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Author: Public Eye
Research by Public Eye reveals that the most dangerous pesticides, known as “highly hazardous”, are used heavily in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), despite being – for the most part – banned in Switzerland and the EU.
Public Eye’s in-depth probe into the opaque world of highly hazardous pesticides also reveals that the Swiss agrochemical giant, Syngenta, is one of the main responsible for the flood of such products into LMICs. This conclusion is based on our analysis of exclusive industry data, which lifts the lid on a ticking time bomb that dramatically endangers human health and the environment.
Our investigation in Brazil, the world’s largest user of pesticides, shows that millions of people are exposed to pesticides that present significant hazards to human health – including through exposure to drinking water. Scientists fear this could trigger an epidemic of chronic diseases. The time has come to put an end to this dirty business...
Confronted with our findings, Syngenta said it does not agree with the list that PAN has developed. The company indi- cated its support for regulating pesticides based on risks not hazards, and stressed that it complies with all of the regulatory and safety standards of the countries where its products are registered for sale...
Author: Public Eye
In a new report, Public Eye sheds light [...] on the scale of a business as secretive as it is lucrative: highly hazardous pesticides. By cross-referencing data [...] with the list of 310 substances that present the highest levels of acute or chronic hazards to health or the environment issued by the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), [...] Public Eye’s unprecedented investigation reveals that ... [o]f the 32 substances which are included in the company’s “key marketed products”, 15 feature on the PAN blacklist of pesticides...
Public Eye carried out investigations in Brazil, Syngenta’s main market. Scientific studies show disturbing rates of congenital deformities, cancer and other chronic diseases in the regions with the highest levels of pesticide use...
Atrazine is one of the most frequently detected substances. This herbicide is classified as an endocrine disruptor and a reproductive toxicant. It was banned in Switzerland and the European Union over ten years ago... But Syngenta continues to sell it in Brazil...
Public Eye is calling on Syngenta to commit to put an end to the production and sale of highly hazardous pesticides... [T]he Swiss government should implement mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence requirements for Swiss companies, as proposed by the Responsible Business Initiative, and should support an international treaty to regulate the business of highly hazardous pesticides.
“There is an urgent need to end this exploitation of lower standards of protection. This is a morally and ethically unjustifiable situation,” Baskut Tuncak, United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and toxics, told Swiss NGO Public Eye on Wednesday. “States should have mandatory human rights due diligence for chemical manufacturers.”
Syngenta has earned billions selling pesticides that are not approved for use in Switzerland, announced the NGO in a reportexternal link published this week...
In response, a Syngenta spokesperson told swissinfo.ch that, "the Public Eye report is politically motivated and deliberately misleading – its rhetoric is designed to scare the public and promote the Responsible Business Initiative in Switzerland. The report is based on a list developed by PAN, which no national or international organization recognizes".
Syngenta’s Switzerland director, Roman Mazzotta, told Swiss Public Television RTS that, "Our products are safe, they are subject to long-term inspections and are regularly checked. It takes many years for a product to be registered. There is therefore no reason for us to remove these products from the market”.
In an interview published on Monday [...], Syngenta CEO Erik Fyrwald argued that effective crop protection products play an important role in feeding the planet and tackling climate change.