The list includes well-known active ingredients such as cypermethrin (insecticide), propyzamide (herbicide), pendimethalin (herbicide), tebuconazole (fungicide), boscalid (fungicide), 2.4-D (grassland herbicide) and mancozeb (fungicide).
Under the proposals, 8.8% of fungicides, 7.3% of herbicides and 4.1% of insecticides could be lost as a result of being classified ED, according to an Impact Assessment published by the European Commission.
Last week, the EC published two draft legal acts with scientific criteria said to allow more accurate identification of chemical substances which are endocrine disruptors in the plant protection and biocides area. European politicians must choose from a number of implementation options.
Farmer and chemical company representatives are concerned that the legislation is likely to be hazard rather than risk-based.
Nick von Westenholz, CEO, Crop Protection Association, said: “We are urging the UK and other members of SCoPAFF [the EU standing committee] to argue for potency and other hazard characteristic elements, such as severity and reversibility, to be included in the ED definition.
“These are essential to allow regulators to distinguish between substances which pose a real danger and those that are of no concern. The current proposals could mean a large number of substances will be identified as endocrine disruptors despite posing little or no risk, and could be unnecessarily removed from the European market, without bringing about any meaningful benefits to the protection of human health or the environment.”
Such an approach is likely to make fewer chemicals available to growers, with no replacements available in some cases, said NFU senior plant health adviser, Emma Hamer. “It is not a helpful proposal in terms of retaining PPPs.
“There are lots of triazole fungicides that are potentially endocrine disruptors and they are pretty vital. There’s the impact on resistance of removing actives all the time. It puts so much pressure on the remaining ones. It would be a massive blow to wheat production.”
Potential loss of pyrethroid, lambda-cyhalothrin could deny rape growers any chemical control of cabbage stem flea beetle, she warned. “It is the only insecticide that has any effectiveness against cabbage stem flea beetle and there is already resistance. And where there isn’t resistance it may be lost to ED [legislation].”
The legislation is due to be discussed by an EU standing committee in July or October. A formal vote could take place in December before it goes to the European Parliament and Council of Ministers for scrutiny. It could enter into force by mid-2017, applying to all AIs coming up for approval or re-approval after that date.