wellbeing news

Swiss fruit and vegetables have more pesticides than expected

Today, the National Council is discussing two popular initiatives aimed at addressing the growing problem of pesticides. The federal government recommends them to refuse. He says he already has enough work with the Agricultural Action Plan for 2017. Is that true?

Swiss farmers are apt and safe to use less pesticides than those abroad, right?

It seems that at least compared to the EU is not the case. That's why many active substances are banned in Switzerland. The recently published annual report by the Cantonal Laboratory in Zurich states that 185 domestic fruit and vegetable samples, 12 and 11.9 percent, had to complain of pesticides. For vegetables from the EU, the value was only 7 percent; even at just 5 percent.

Does it mean that we eat less chemistry when we consume fruits and vegetables from Spain or Italy?

Not necessarily. In the case of Italian peaches, the Zurich laboratory also reported increased levels of chlorpyrifos according to the latest annual report. This insecticide has recently been banned in Switzerland after scientists have shown that it also weakens the human immune system, not just killing insects.

What about Asian Vegetables and Fruits?

They have far the highest levels of pesticides. At least the Zurich Laboratory comes to this conclusion. Of the 225 samples, 74 were to be objected to. About half of the active substances found were not approved in Switzerland. In six cases it is proven that evidence is even harmful to health. The vegetable in question was the cabbage from Thailand and Vietnam, a witch egg from China, cherry tomatoes and tomatoes from Turkey.

How many pesticides pollute Swiss groundwater and drinking water?

Most of the substances used break down in a short time. However, it produces so-called metabolites, also called intermediates. Little is known about the effect of these metabolites. Therefore, the toxicity of various pesticides in the Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary (BLV) has been clarified. The office is examining whether the metabolites affect people and the environment. If this is correct, their quantity per liter must not exceed one microgram.

So, are federal measures enough?

Unfortunately, the question can not be answered. The plan does not contain many valid measures. Instead, they are possible measures for the future, which should clarify various federal offices. The most tolerant is the federal government in killing weeds. Since 2020, farmers who do not use herbicides and instead use weed killers will receive direct payments. Fungicides, algicides or insecticides are not included in the regulation.

What do the "Clean Drinking Water" and "Pesticides" initiatives have to offer?

The Drinking Water Initiative wants to link all pesticides with direct payments, not just herbicides. The pesticide initiative wants to ban all pesticides.

To what extent is our drinking water or groundwater polluted with pesticides?

This can not be answered throughout the forum. Switzerland pulls 80% of potable water from groundwater. And this water examines the so-called. National Groundwater Monitoring (Naqua) at 500 metering points for quality changes. Only: The latest results were published ten years ago. The next measurement results should be published in autumn. This has confirmed that Naqua is in these newspapers. The original observatory promised first results at the end of June.

So we do not know how much our current drinking water is?

In addition to federal investigation, cantonal laboratories also prepare their own annual water quality reports. They do this in part even more detailed than Naqua, as they control multiple metering points in a smaller space. Basically, cantonal laboratories come to the conclusion that water quality in Switzerland is good. But they all make regional cuts. Canton Schaffhausen recently established an increased value of the chlorothalonil metabolite in the plant protection product. The active substance causes skin and eye irritation in humans; in overdose, has caused cancer in rat trials. However, the canton can not react to inflated values ​​because the federal government currently classifies chlorothalonil or its metabolites as allowed. The same applies to various other substances. It would be interesting to merge all these cantonal reports in order to at first glance assess the water quality. No one has yet taken that task.

How do farmers who deal with these dangerous substances on a daily basis?

This is the biggest unknown in the whole debate about pesticides. In the Agricultural Activity Report, the federal government addresses this issue on several pages. And he concludes that they do not know enough about the health status of pesticide farmers because they are often private secured. Therefore, by 2021, it was necessary to clarify whether farmers were exposed to the use of pesticides. Then measures had to be taken.

And when are pesticides and drinking water coming to the forefront of the nation?

In the spring of 2020.

Created on: 19.06.2019, 14:46