RIVM investigated the substances found in plant protection products in use today. It looked for substances that are similar in structure to five banned substances. There is strong evidence that these banned substances can cause neurodegenerative diseases. Such diseases include Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's. RIVM looked at 295 substances and found one that was similar: metiram.
Metiram is very rarely used in the Netherlands. The European Union’s reassessment of this substance is currently in progress. The substance may be banned once the results are known. Until this reassessment is finished, RIVM sees no reason to take extra measures. It does recommend that the Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality keep monitoring the reassessment. Other options can be considered if metiram is approved for use.
Earlier research by RIVM identified five specific substances. There was strong evidence that these can cause neurodegenerative diseases. Such diseases affect the nervous system and include Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's. Those five substances are now banned in the European Union. That earlier study also showed that the quality of the information used to assess the risks of plant protection products is not high enough. This quality must be improved to better judge the potential consequences of their use, such as Parkinson’s disease. RIVM is exploring ways to improve the risk assessment.
Substances similar to banned substances
In anticipation of this, RIVM carried out an investigation. It used the information now available to see whether there are substances in use similar to the banned substances. Substances with a similar structure may have similar effects. Evidence suggests that certain plant protection products used in the past can affect a person's health. A person (such as a grower) who has worked with those products over a long period is more likely to develop diseases that affect the nervous system.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality commissioned this study.