On Wednesday (9) in the Chamber of Deputies, by 301 to 150 votes, the base text of PL (Bill) 6,299, of 2002, was approved. The project, which concerns environmental and health entities, increases the power of the Ministry of Agriculture in the authorization process for new pesticides.
See below the main changes brought by the PL, which returns to the Senate for voting, and the points considered problematic by environmental and health entities.
What changes with the PL?
The bill amends Law 7,802, of July 11, 1989, which covers everything from research to commercialization, registration and inspection of pesticides.
One of the points of change foreseen in the PL is even the word “pesticides”. In the project, the products are called “pesticides”. According to the project’s rapporteur, Deputy Luiz Nishimori (PL-PR), the term pesticide would be “derogatory”.
A central point of the PL that has, for years, drawn attention is the responsibility for the approval of pesticides to be in the hands of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Meanwhile, article 3 of the current law determines that pesticides can only be produced and used “if previously registered with a federal agency, in accordance with the guidelines and requirements of Organs federal agencies responsible for the health, environment and agriculture sectors” .
Thus, in the current model, the work also involves Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) and Ibama (Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources).
According to an analysis carried out by Fiocruz, in 2018, the change promotes a “dismantling of the [atual] triple regulatory system”.
The analysis states that the tripartite model is a strategy that minimizes the possibility of agencies “acting exclusively to serve” the economic interests of the regulated sector.
Fiocruz researchers also say that, with the changes made by the PL, Anvis now has “a merely advisory role, opening the possibility for decisions that should be technical to be in the hands of the market.”
According to the PL, the reanalysis process (which can be derived from alerts or from advising against the use of pesticides by international organizations) of pesticides that have already been released is also under the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, which “may request information from health agencies and the environment to complement your analysis”.
How is attention to pesticide residues in food?
The monitoring of residues in food, if the PL enters into force as it is, will be done jointly with the Ministry of Health, but the dissemination of the results will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture alone.
Currently, Anvisa coordinates the Para (Program for the Analysis of Pesticides Residues in Food), which was created in 2001 for a periodic assessment of levels of pesticides in food.
Can substances with the potential to cause cancer be released?
The word cancer — or related — does not appear in the bill passed by the House. In the current law, there is an express ban on pesticides, their components and the like that “reveal teratogenic, carcinogenic or mutagenic characteristics, according to the updated results of experiments by the scientific community”.
The approved PL points to the prohibition of pesticides that, “under the recommended conditions of use,
present an unacceptable risk to humans or the environment”.
The definition of “unacceptable risk” given by the project is broad: “level of risk considered unsatisfactory for remaining unsafe for human beings or the environment, even with the implementation of risk management measures”.
The Inca (National Cancer Institute), part of the Ministry of Health, spoke out against the approval of the PL in 2018, another time when the project was under discussion.
According to Inca, the PL allows “the registration of pesticides with teratogenic, mutagenic and carcinogenic characteristics, putting the health of the population exposed to these products and the environment at risk”.
The Federal Public Ministry was another to take a contrary position, in a 2018 technical note, against the changes.
“Substances with these characteristics [carcinogênicas], under the terms of the PL, may be registered. The registration ban is replaced by the definition of ‘unacceptable risk’,” the MPF said in a note.
Will pesticides for export need registration?
Contrary to what currently happens, the PL, if approved, points out that registration or even agronomic, toxicological and environmental studies will not be necessary for the export of pesticides. According to the project approved in the Chamber, only one communication to the Ministry of Agriculture will be enough.
According to Fiocruz’s assessment, the absence of registration “neglects the effects on the health of individuals involved in its production process, including production, storage, transport and other related activities, in addition to potential damage to the environment”.
Is it possible to use pesticides in urban areas?
The current law cites the use of pesticides in urban and industrial environments. The approved PL distances itself from this by pointing out that pesticides “intended for use in the sectors of protection of urban environments and
industrial companies are governed by Law No. 6,360, of September 23, 1976″.
In 2018, this was already one of the points criticized by Fiocruz. According to the entity, the wording of the PL excludes the tacit understanding that “products formulated with active ingredients of pesticides”, even when directed to insecticidal actions, such as mosquito control Aedes aegypti“have the same toxicological properties as pesticides” and, therefore, must be “treated with the same rigor”.
How long does it take for pesticide registration applications to be analyzed?
The delay in analyzing and registering new pesticides — some of which could even have characteristics that are less harmful to human health and the environment — has been a complaint among people working in the area and representatives of the sector.
In recent years, however, order analysis has accelerated and recently large numbers of registrations have been observed.
The PL indicates a time for completion of log analysis. Varying between different product categories, the maximum time for completion of the claim is 24 months for new formulated and technical products.
The shortest time is 30 days, for the so-called special temporary registration (for research and experimentation) and for risk reanalysis processes.