When a pesticide is used, there is always a risk that the product will spread beyond the intended dispersion area. At worst, it may even have a negative impact on plants or animals not intended to be controlled.
Even if a product has been authorised, there may be risks. The product may spread more widely than intended, either through negligence or unintentional dispersion via wind and water. The results from sampling tests show that residues of plant protection products are sometimes found in surface water and groundwater.
The labelling on the packaging must state how a plant protection product may be used and which hazardous properties it may have.
New rules for use of plant protection products for the season 2017
For the growing season 2017 two new rules apply for the use of plant protection products. One of the new rules states that chemical plant protection products may not be used for defoliation or as herbicides closer than 30 days before harvest of cereal crops for food production. The other rule states that if several different products containing the same active substance are used then the total dose may not exceed the maximum approved dosage for one single product. The rules can be found in § 39 a and § 35a of the Swedish Pesticide Ordinance SFS 2014:425 and entered into force the 14th of March 2017.
These rules are part of the task for a non-toxic everyday environment in order to minimize the risks of pesticide residues in food.
Plan of action to reduce risks
Within the EU there is a directive for the sustainable use of plant protection products. The directive is a complement to other rules on plant protection products and its purpose is to ensure there are common minimum requirements for the use of plant protection products in the EU.
To reduce the risks associated with plant protection products, the Swedish Chemicals Agency, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Board of Agriculture have jointly drawn up a proposal for a plan of action for the use of pesticides in the agricultural and gardening sectors.
More information from other bodies
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency issues rules on the spread of pesticides in the environment.
The Swedish Board of Agriculture issues rules on knowledge requirements and permits to use certain pesticides.
The National Food Agency issues rules on the residue levels of pesticides in crops and drinking water.
The Centre for Chemical Pesticides (CKB) is a partnership forum for researchers at SLU and interested parties outside the university and working within the field of chemical pesticides.
The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) has a pesticide database that includes results from sampling.