The French government has approved the export of more than 7,400 tonnes of banned pesticides so far this year, despite introducing a landmark law intended to prohibit the practice, a new Unearthed and Public Eye investigation has found.
Among these planned exports are 14 different chemicals that have been prohibited from use on farms across the European Union in order to protect human health or the environment.
They include notorious “bee-killing” neonicotinoid insecticides, banned from outdoor use in the EU to protect pollinators. They also include pesticides banned over human health concerns such as endocrine disruption and damage to DNA, and environmental concerns such as groundwater contamination and toxicity to wildlife.
The shipments were approved despite the French government passing a landmark law – the first of its kind in Europe – prohibiting the manufacturing and export of pesticides containing active ingredients that are banned in the EU. This law, known as the loi Egalim, came into force on 1 January this year.
However, Unearthed and Public Eye, a Swiss NGO, have identified major loopholes in the law and its implementing regulations. These are allowing manufacturers to continue exporting large quantities of banned pesticides from France.