Plant Protection Products (PPP) or pesticides
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What are PPPs?subir

PPPs, pesticides or Crop Protection Products are active substances and compounds used for:

  • Eliminating living organisms (weeds, diseases, insects) or preventing their effects on crops

  • Altering the expected growth, flowering, or reproduction rate of plants (growth regulators)

  • Improving the preservation of vegetables, provided that such products are not subject to specific EU provisions on preservatives

  • Eliminating unwanted vegetables

  • Partially destroying, controlling or preventing the adequate growth of vegetables

The use of PPPs (pesticides) reduces biodiversity. Sprayed pesticides end up contaminating the air, water and soil through pesticide drift and contribute eutrophication (ecosystem response to the addition of artificial substances). They also have several adverse effects on human health (many PPPs contain carcinogens, endocrine disruptors or environmentally toxic substances).

What to do?subir

Identifying the components of pesticides, their toxic and ecotoxic properties.

Avoiding the use of most hazardous substances (Substances of concern for Trade Unions)/ using alternative products or processes, similar to the ones used in organic farming.

Ensuring that risks of exposure to PPPs and pesticides are adequately included in occupational risk assessments.

Implementing all necessary protection measures to protect workers from exposure.

Monitoring compliance with the legal requirements for the authorization, marketing and use of pesticides. That includes observing the following:

  • Pesticides can only be placed on the market of a Member State if they have been previously authorized and included in the national register of pesticides and PPPs.

  • Authorizations to PPPs shall be granted for a period no longer than ten years, provided that its active substances are included in the EU pesticides data base (list of active substances accepted by the EC. Those substances are authorized by the EC and their acceptance will be publicly disclosed through national provisions.

  • Under exceptional circumstances, certain PPPs that do not comply with the legal requirements may be authorized for a period no longer tan 120 days, if such measure would be necessary in view of a danger that cannot be controlled by any other means.

  • PPPs shall be packaged and labelled in compliance with Directive 1999/45/CE or Regulation 1272/2008/EC (CLP) (optional until June 2015 and mandatory after that date).

  • All packaging must show clearly and indelibly the following (in the language(s) of Member States):

    • the trade name or designation of the plant protection product;

    • the name and address of the holder of the authorization and the authorization number of the plant protection product;

    • the name and amount of each active substance;

    • the net quantity of plant protection product given in legal units of measurement;

    • the formulation batch number or some means of identifying it;

    • information on first aid;

    • the nature of any special risks for humans, animals or the environment (and precautionary measures to be adopted);

    • the type of action of the plant protection product (e.g. insecticide, growth regulator, weedkiller, etc.);

    • the type of preparation (e.g. wettable powder, emulsifiable concentrate, etc.);

    • the uses for which the plant protection product has been authorized and any specific agricultural, plant health and environmental conditions under which the product may be used or should not be used;

    • directions for use and the dose rate, expressed in metric units, for each use provided for under the terms of the authorization;

    • where necessary, the safety interval for each use between application and:

      • sowing or planting of the crop to be protected,

      • sowing or planting of succeeding crops,

      • access by humans or animals,

      • harvesting,

      • use or consumption

    • particulars of possible phytotoxicity, varietal susceptibility, and any other direct or indirect adverse side effects on plants or products of plant origin together with the intervals to be:
      • observed between application and sowing or planting of:

      • the crop in question, or

      • subsequent crops;

    • if accompanied by a leaflet, as provided for in paragraph 2, the sentence ‘Read accompanying instructions before use’

    • directions for safe disposal of the plant protection product and of the packaging; and

    • the expiry date relevant to normal conditions of storage where the shelf life of the product is limited to less than two years.


This list includes active substances contained in pesticides (accepted, excluded and pending):


  • 91/414/EECCouncil Directive of 15 July 1991 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market

  • Council Directive 79/117/EEC of 21 December 1978 prohibiting the placing on the market and use of plant protection products containing certain active substances.

  • Regulation (EC) NO 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC.

  • Council Directive 98/24/EC of 7 April 1998 on the protection of the health and safety of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work (fourteenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).


Sources used to develop the list include:

ListSourceDate of publication/consultation

Directive 79/117/EEC

AnnexJanuary 2014
EU Pesticides data base (included, excluded and active substances under reviewJanuary 2014

Last updatesubir

January 2014


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