Brexit may expose Britons to cancer-causing chemicals as EU pesticide regs rolled back, experts warn
Researchers have warned of possible “significant departures” from EU regulations on harmful pesticides once Brexit is enacted, which may cause chaos between British territories but open up trade with US and Canada.
The EU provides some 80 percent of the UK’s environmental laws which must now all be converted by each devolved territory, which may lead to chemicals being used in Scotland but not in England or Northern Ireland, for instance.
The University of Sussex’s UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO) has warned that critical environmental and human health protections may now be in danger.
The most prominent concern involves the removal of a blanket ban on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), which are linked with cancer, birth defects and immune disorders. EDCs are widely used in the US and Canada, however, who view the EU regulations as an unnecessary trade barrier.
The EU system of checks and balances has now been removed and will be replaced by a handful of ministers to create, amend and revoke pesticide legislation.
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This could include the EU’s so-called ‘precautionary principle’ which states that independently-verified scientific evidence must be provided to prove that a pesticide is safe to use. UK ministers now have their own discretionary powers to decide what is and what is not safe for the British public.
The huge volume of new laws and regulations will have to be drawn up quickly with next to no oversight, warns UKTPO fellow Emily Lydgate.
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