Restriction Placed by The EU and Its member States on Glysophate and Neonicotinoids: How To regulate In The Face of Uncertainty?

With Professor Nicolas de Sadeleer, University of Saint - Louis, Brussels

Thursday, 22 August
1pm - 2pm

Room 920, Level 9,
Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton

Though chemicals continue to be released to the environment in large quantities and that they are ubiquitous in air, water and soil, food and humans, the global and production and consumption of chemical has continued to grow. All in all, over the 280000 chemicals being used but a few dozens are prohibited or restricted.

Aiming at reducing health and environmental risks, the chemicals policy has traditionally been related to a general preference for a certainty-seeking regulatory style in which a formal, science-based, and standardized risk assessment has been singled out as the predominant tool for decision-making. However, while risk assessments draw extensively on science, data is often incomplete and results may be unclear or contradictory. Indeed, as it is difficult to establish causal links between exposure to chemicals and health or environmental effects, there is generally a significant degree of uncertainty in estimates of the probability and magnitude of adverse effects associated with a chemical agent.

As far as EU law is concerned, the precautionary principle is located within the broader context of risk analysis, which comprises a three-step process: risk assessment and risk management, and risk communication. Endocrine disrupting substances, Glysophate, and neonicotinoids are sparking off much social debate. Invoking the precautionary principle, several Member States to are adopting restrictions on these substances, that are challenged in courts. The speaker shall underscore the influence exerted by that principle in the case law of EU and domestic courts regarding the regulation of chemical substances in general, biocides and pesticides.

Professor Nicolas de Sadeleer


Professor de Sadeleer is Professor of EU law at the University of Saint - Louis, Brussels. He recently has been reappointed as a Jean Monnet Chair in the EU in the area of Environmental Law. Formerly held a Marie Curie Chair at the University of Oslo. Professor de Sadeleer held a Jean Monnet Chair on Trade and Environment in 2010-14. He has been a guest professor at different African, Australian, Asian, Latin American and North American Universities. He was appointed in 2017 Distinguished International Visiting Professor at the University of Canberra, Australia. He cooperates with more than 20 universities across the EU. Professor de Sadeleer is the author of 11 books and has written many articles on EU environmental law, free movement of goods, internal market and EU tax law.