The black list of pesticides

© Atul Loke/Panos
Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) are substances “that are acknowledged to present particularly high levels of acute or chronic hazards to health or the environment”

In 2006 already, FAO and WHO adopted criteria to identify highly hazardous pesticides. Yet more than ten years have passed and they have failed to even start working on a list of pesticides that should be considered “highly hazardous”. This is crucial step to make governments and the pesticide industry develop plans of action for progressively phasing out HHPs.

The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) decided to fill this gap. It did this by reviewing the official classification of about 1,000 pesticide active ingredients currently on the market, using the criteria developed by FAO and WHO while remediating some of their main shortcomings. Its first list of highly hazardous pesticides was published in 2009 and last updated in 2019. It includes 310 pesticide active ingredients, which is approximately 30% of pesticides currently in use worldwide.

Public Eye used the PAN list of HHPs of 310 highly hazardous pesticides to investigate the extent of this toxic business, its winners and, above all, its losers.