Government initiates commission of inquiry with the aim of banning private use of chemical plant protection products

The Government is concerned about the widespread use of chemical plant protection products in private gardens. To protect people’s health and the environment, the Government aims to introduce a ban on the private use of chemical plant protection products. The Government has also stated that it respects the European Chemicals Agency’s assessment of the active substance glyphosate in the upcoming EU discussions on the plant protection product.

Chemical plant protection products are pesticides used to protect plants from weeds and pests. The use of chemical plant protection products may pose risks to human health and the environment, particularly when used carelessly. There is a risk of ground and surface water contamination and harm to pollinating insects such as bees and bumble bees. It is therefore crucial that they are used correctly.

The professional use of plant protection products is carefully regulated. For example, farmers receive special training to handle these substances. But when it comes to private use, the situation is different. Careless use may also expose children to the dangerous substances in these products. To reduce such risks, the Government is now taking action to decrease the use of chemical plant protection products in private gardens and homes. This is why the Government is initiating a commission of inquiry with the aim of banning the private use of chemical plant protection products.

"Our goal is to introduce a national ban on the private use of chemical plant protection products. This is an important step towards a toxin-free everyday environment," says Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog.

It is also important that the professional use of plant protection products takes place with concern for people's health and the environment. For this reason, Sweden respects the expert agencies' conclusions.
EU Member States will consider a proposal from the European Commission this autumn on the renewal of approval for glyphosate – one of the most widely used plant protection products in the world. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has carefully reviewed all available studies on glyphosate and concluded that glyphosate should not be classified as carcinogenic. ECHA's conclusions complement the earlier work of the European Food Safety Authority. Sweden respects these conclusions and will actively participate in discussions between the Member States.

"It is important to respect scientific assessments and comply with the rules. The EU's expert agency has now carefully examined this and we respect its conclusions," says Ms Skog.

Renewed approval at EU level and a Swedish ban on the private use of chemical plant protection products would mean that glyphosate products could only be used professionally in Sweden. Sweden also believes that the professional use of glyphosate should be carefully regulated, and is actively pursuing tighter controls.

Contact

Hanna Björnfors
Press Secretary to Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00
Mobile +46 (0)72-500 92 11
email to Hanna Björnfors, via senior registry clerk

Plant protection products

Plant protection products are pesticides and are used to protect plants and cultivations from various types of weeds and pests. Only a few plant protection products have been approved for private use in Swedish gardens. The most commonly used substances are for controlling moss and weeds.

Glyphosate is an active substance in plant protection products primarily used to control weeds on agricultural land in the spring before crops emerge and in the autumn after they are harvested. The substance is one of some 20 approved plant protection products in Sweden, most of which are only for professional use but a few of which can also be used by consumers. Between 600 and 700 tonnes of glyphosate are sold in Sweden each year, making it the most widely used active substance in chemical plant protection products in the country.