Follow-up advisory report on crop protection and local residents
The results of studies carried out in other countries indicate the existence of a link between exposure to plant protection products and the risk of health impairment, such as Parkinson’s disease and developmental disorders in children. Dutch studies have not yielded such clear evidence, but this has done nothing to allay these concerns. Further research is not expected to provide clarity in the near future, nor can the approval procedure for these products ever fully eliminate risks. For these reasons, the Health Council recommends application of the precautionary principle, by redoubling efforts to reduce agricultural dependence on chemical plant protection products. Education and enforcement are also important, as growers don’t always consider safe working practices to be a priority. The Health Council recommends that an accurate registry should be kept of which products are used in which amounts on which agricultural plots. People’s exposure to plant protection products should also be periodically measured. Such testing would be based on the presence of metabolites in urine, for example. Finally, the Committee recommends that further steps should be taken to improve the approval procedure.