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77 percent of Germans want a ban on pesticides

This year, the Swiss people will decide on a ban of pesticides in agriculture. This was achieved by a public Swiss initiative that is also referred to as the "pesticide initiative". How would the German public decide? A survey by the forsa polling agency that was commissioned by the "Bündnis für eine enkeltaugliche Landwirtschaft" and the "Umweltinstitut München" wanted to get answers to this question. 

The large majority of Germans want a ban on pesticides. In November 2020, forsa surveyed a total of 1,012 German citizens. The result: 57 percent of the survey participants think that pesticides in ambient air present a serious or very serious health risk, 77 percent think this is a great danger for nature.

Thus, our initiative "Agropoisons? No thanks!" and our call for an immediate ban on pesticides that spread mostly via the air actually reflect the majority opinion.


Pesticide industry accuses initiative of alarmism

Upon publication of the study "Pesticide contamination in the ambient air" at the end of September 2020, the pesticide industry accused the "Bündnis für eine enkeltaugliche Landwirtschaft" and the "Umweltinstitut München" of alarmism. 

See the study results

It is indisputable that the study found active pesticide substances in places where there should be no pesticides. In an open letter to the "Umweltinstitut München" the Agrar Industry Association and Bayer Crop Science, the world's largest pesticide and seed producer, criticize the documented concentrations of active pesticide ingredients. 
It was alleged by the industry that the found concentrations would be too low to present any health risk.

Subsequently, the Alliance and the "Umweltinstitut München" clarified that the measured values only served to show that pesticide substances are present in the ambient air and that these concentrations are NOT comparable with pesticide concentrations that are additionally absorbed through food uptake.

Moreover, the uptake of pesticides via the lungs is widely unexplored. Pesticides that are absorbed with the air are metabolized differently than ingested food. Another important aspect are the so-called cocktail effects. Poisons occurring in combination with other poisons have significantly greater effects than individual pesticides.


„Bayer Inc. tries to dismiss the long-distance transport of pesticides as being totally harmless. However, the possible effects of airborne pesticide cocktails on health and biodiversity have not yet been studied at all.”

Fabian Holzheid, Political Director Umweltinstitut München e.V.
138 active pesticide substances were found in the ambient air. At most study sites, there were pesticide cocktails consisting of 5-35 active ingredients.
18 active pesticide substances were detected in the city of Berlin
30 % of the found substances are (no longer) approved, but are still in our breathing air. 
12 active pesticide ingredients were detected at the Brocken, in the Harz National Park

What's next?

Bayer Crop Science invited the "Umweltinstitut München" and the "Bündnis" to a public dialogue on the study "Pesticide contamination in ambient air". This is to be followed by additional public dialogues with politicians as a new German government will be elected in 2021. Look also for campaigns organized by your local health food store. 

What you can do immediately

Participate online in the political dialogue:

Sign the EU petition "Save bees and farmers!":

Fair trade and organic farming are central for Rapunzel

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