Succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor’ (SDHI) fungicides are used against fungi and mould. On the basis of a report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published in April 2017, the French NGO ‘Générations futures’ established that boscalid, a very frequently used SDHI, was the most frequent pesticide residue found in food samples tested in Europe. However, the way SDHIs work is atypical and is not picked up by European toxicity tests. SDHI block respiration in fungus cells, inhibiting the activity of the enzyme SDH (succinate dehydrogenase), but have the same effect on bodily cells in earthworms and humans.
Blocking this enzyme leads to a build-up of the succinate molecule, which modifies the structure of DNA, but without creating mutations, as most carcinogens do. Given that these epigenetic anomalies have not yet been tested, they cannot be detected before the pesticides are marketed. In 2014, 70% of French wheat fields had been treated with these pesticides. Since then, however, French researchers from INSERM, CNRS and INRA have warned against the dangers associated with SDHI. Taking account of the above, is the Commission planning to review the European-wide approval of the SDHI active substances?
Parlamentary Question for written answer E-006368-18
to the Commission of 19 December 2018
Mireille D'Ornano (EFDD)
Original language of question: French