Greenpeace have just released an update of their 2010 Pesticides and Herbicides blacklist. The blacklisting process involves scoring currently approved pesticides and herbicides by levels of risk to human and/or ecosystem health.
A welcome development in this new version is an increased emphasis on environmental effects of agro-chemicals, including bioaccumulation, dispersal and half-life characteristics.
There are specific categories of risk covering toxicity to honeybees, as well as toxicity to predator insects, and any substance posing unacceptable levels of risk in two of the environmental categories is included in the blacklist.
Of the 520 substances approved for use in the EU, 62 are singled out as breaching two ecosystem health criteria, in addition to the 111 which pose signficant risk to human health and are priorities for phasing out. A further 36 showed lower levels of toxicity but are listed as affecting both human and environmental health.
Ultimately, the introduction to the report concludes, only a radical shift in agricultural practices can remove pesticide risks:
Only ecological farming can protect ecsystems, food security and diversity.