The precautionary principle and pesticides
Sommaire de l'article
In 1998, Greenpeace, Natuur en Milieu (Nature and Environment), Milieudefensie (Environmental Defense), and the National Consumers Union presented a report about the possible risks and hazards associated with pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Although these organizations explicitly denied having unassailable evidence on the harmful effects of pesticides, they claimed that by now there are sufficient indications that pesticides may indeed lead to such health hazards. They used an appeal to the so-called precautionary principle to underpin their claims. The committee officially in charge of deciding on the admission of pesticides accused the organizations of scaremongering. After distinguishing three possible versions of the precautionary principle, we then show that the four organizations used in their campaign an improper version of the precautionary principle to convince the general public.