Detoxifying agriculture and health from highly hazardous pesticides: A call for action

  • 01/12/2019
  • FAO

While all pesticides can be dangerous when used in appropriately, highly hazardous pesticides are of particular concern due to the severe adverse effects they can cause to human health and the environment. Even though they constitute only a minor share of all authorized pesticides, they can cause the most harm. With ad-equate investment in scaling-up existing and new ecological alternatives for pest control, pesticides that pose unacceptable risk to humans and the environment can be phased out from agriculture and other use sectors. Highly hazardous pesticides are defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/ World Health Organization(WHO) International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management (2014) as pesticides that are acknowledged to present particularly high levels of acute or chronic hazards to health or environment according to internationally accepted classification systems such as WHO or GHS [the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals]or their listing in relevant binding international agreements or conventions. In addition, pesticides that appear to cause severe or irreversible harm to health or the environment under conditions of use in a country may be considered to be and treated as highly hazardous. Highly hazardous pesticides cause adverse social, environmental and economic effects that undermine the achievement of sustainable development.