EU Directive 91/414/EEC requires there to be no unacceptable effects on the environment from the use of pesticides. This paper reports the views of direct stakeholder groups and results from an opinion survey of more than 2000 members of the general public on what in practice should constitute acceptable and unacceptable effects of pesticides. Stakeholders in focus groups were concerned with the potential effects of pesticides on animal and plant population viability and micro-organism function but recognized that a trade-off exists between the potential economic advantages of responsible pesticide use and the potential disadvantages of individual poisoning events. The public opinion survey showed that although pesticides are widely used in homes and gardens, their use on farm crops remains of concern to the public. Concerns are greatest on issues of human health and food quality but potential environmental effects are also an issue for a substantial number of people, particularly if attractive species could be affected.
Copyright 2005 Society of Chemical Industry.