Today Professor Sir Colin Berry, a leading pathologist, has heavily criticised the proposed EU legislation on chemical use in farming. His criticisms come after 160 other eminent scientists, including Sir David King, former Senior Scientific Advisor to the UK Government, signed a petition warning against the impact the legislation would have on public health in some of the world's poorest regions.
Other scientists such Lucas Bergkamp, a professor of environmental liability law, are condemning the proposals, especially the more stringent measures as tabled by the EU Parliament.
The legislative amendments, they warn, would have the following consequences:
- A doubling of some food prices
- A significant reduction in crop yields (British crop yields, for example, could be reduced by anything between 25% and 50%)
- A loss of conserved habitats, as more land is needed to farm the same amount of crops
- An increase in insect-borne diseases, as global insecticide markets are hammered
- A dangerous loss of insecticide use in poor countries, through fear of imports to the EU being banned
Professor Sir Colin Berry said: "the European Parliament’s document in support of the legislation is simply an apologia for a position, not a scientific review."
The legislation is based on the "precautionary principle"; under its proposed means of assessments any products that contains any possible carcinogens could be banned. This may sound sensible until one considers that this covers half of all tested substances, and includes products such as red wine and coffee.
Furthermore, the legislation must take into account not only risks of using pesticides, but also the considerable risks of not using them.
While EU citizens no longer face the threat of malaria thanks to DDT-spraying in the 1950s and 1960s, the EU risks harming unknown and unseen children in faraway lands. This would be a staggering injustice.