A scientific study shows that synthetic pesticides are significantly more dangerous than natural ones(taken from a study by IFOAM ORGANICS))1

The European Green Deal’s goals of expanding organic farming to 25%, halving pesticide use, and risk, and protecting sensitive areas from negative pesticide impacts by 2030 are making natural pesticides allowed in organic farming a matter of political interest. 2

On behalf of IFOAM Organics Europe, the European umbrella organization for organic farming, GLOBAL 2000 subjected these alleged “ecological compromises” to Data Control). In this context, the differences between the 256 pesticide-active substances allowed only in conventional agriculture and the 134 substances also allowed in organic farming were analyzed in terms of hazard potentials and risks, as well as the frequency of their use.

The difference in pesticides for ORGANIC farming compared to conventional ones is highly significant:

Of the 256 active substances of pesticides, mostly synthetic, allowed only in conventional agriculture, 55% carry warnings of danger to health or the environment; For the 134 natural active ingredients also allowed in organic farming, only 3% allow it. Warnings about possible harm to the unborn child suspected carcinogenicity or acute lethal effects were found in 16% of pesticides used in conventional agriculture, but none of the pesticides approved for use in organic. 4

Burtscher-Schaden, a biochemist at GLOBAL 2000 and lead author of the study: “While about 90% of conventional pesticides are of chemical-synthetic origin and have undergone screening programs to identify the substances with the highest toxicity (and therefore the highest efficacy) against target organisms, most natural active ingredients are not even ‘substances’ in the strict sense, but living microorganisms. These make up 56% of pesticides approved in organic farming. As natural inhabitants of the soil, they have no properties of hazardous substances. Another 19% of organic pesticides are classified from the outset as “low-risk active substances” (e.g., yeast, ferric phosphate) or approved as a basic substance (e.g., sunflower oil, vinegar, milk).” 5

Jan Plagge, President of IFOAM Organics Europe, adds: “It has become clear that synthetic active substances allowed in conventional farming are much more dangerous and problematic than natural active substances approved in organic farming. And let’s remember that organic farms focus on preventive measures such as using robust varieties, sensitive crop rotations, maintaining soil health, and increasing biodiversity in the field in order to avoid the use of external inputs. That is why on about 90% of agricultural land (especially arable land) no pesticides are used, not even natural substances. However, if pests get out of hand, the use of beneficial insects, microorganisms, pheromones, or deterrents is the second choice of organic farmers. Natural pesticides, such as copper or sulfur minerals, baking powder, or vegetable oils, are the last resort, for special crops such as fruits and wine vines. 6

Jennifer Lewis, Executive Director of the International Biological Manufacturers Association (IBMA), highlights the “huge potential” of natural crop protection products and methods already available today, for both conventional and organic farmers: We need to speed up the approval process for organic control so that these products are available to all farmers in Europe. This will support the transition to a more sustainable and biodiversity-friendly food system outlined in the European Green Deal.” 7

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.