Warning

Widespread use of illegal counterfeit pesticides throughout Europe may be more harmful to consumers, farmers and the environment than the also toxic legal versions, according to a recent article in the August 25th Wall Street Journal.

Despite strict regulations on genetically modified foods throughout the EU, the problem of counterfeit pesticides is growing, cites WSJ, with illegal pesticides possibly making up as much as  5 to 15 percent of all pesticides sold in Europe.

The unregulated illegal trade of untested pesticides is raking in big bucks for distributors throughout Europe—sneaking the toxic products into countries through EU loopholes that don’t consider the pesticides in their counterfeit laws, and therefore making seizure difficult. According to the WSJ, “Last year, for example, 28 metric tons of counterfeit pesticides destined for Lithuania were seized in Hamburg. Although they were packed alongside labels and measuring cups purporting to be made by three of the world’s largest agrochemical makers, Bayer AG, Syngenta AG and E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., they actually contained more than 30% of a solvent called Dimethylformamide, which is banned in Europe because it is suspected to cause serious harm to pregnant women.”

As many as 20 percent of farmers throughout Eastern Europe have lost crops due to use of the illegal pesticides that destroyed their harvest and have made the soil unstable.

The United States has a system in place designed to diffuse counterfeiters by seizing component parts—not just finished products—intended for sale as an alternative to EPA regulated pesticides.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

image: C. G. P. Grey