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Document 01979L0117-20040520

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


1979L0117 — EN — 20.05.2004 — 015.002

This document is meant purely as a documentation tool and the institutions do not assume any liability for its contents



of 21 December 1978

prohibiting the placing on the market and use of plant protection products containing certain active substances


(OJ L 033, 8.2.1979, p.36)

Amended by:



Official Journal





COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 83/131/EEC of 14 March 1983

  L 91




COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 85/298/EEC of 22 May 1985

  L 154




COUNCIL REGULATION (EEC) No 3768/85 of 20 December 1985

  L 362




COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 86/214/EEC of 26 May 1986

  L 152




COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 86/355/EEC of 21 July 1986

  L 212




COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 87/181/EEC of 9 March 1987

  L 71




COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 87/477/EEC of 9 September 1987

  L 273




COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 89/365/EEC of 30 May 1989

  L 159




COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 90/335/EEC of 7 June 1990

  L 162




COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 90/533/EEC of 15 October 1990

  L 296




COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 91/188/EEC of 19 March 1991

  L 92




COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 807/2003 of 14 April 2003

  L 122





  L 158



Amended by:


  L 291




  C 241




  L 001



Corrected by:


Corrigendum, OJ L 229, 29.6.2004, p. 5  (850/2004)



of 21 December 1978

prohibiting the placing on the market and use of plant protection products containing certain active substances



Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, and in particular Article 100 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission ( 1 ),

Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament ( 2 ),

Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee ( 3 ),

Whereas plant production has a very important place in the European Economic Community;

Whereas the yield from that production is continually being affected by harmful organisms and weeds; whereas it is absolutely essential to protect plants against these risks to prevent a fall in yields and thereby help to ensure the availability of supplies;

Whereas one of the most important methods of protecting plants and plant products and of increasing the productivity of agriculture is to use plant protection products;

Whereas the effects of these plant protection products may not be wholly favourable for plant production; whereas their use may involve risks for man and the environment since, in the main, they are toxic substances or preparations having dangerous effects;

Whereas, in the case of certain plant protection products, these risks are so great that their use can no longer be wholly or partially tolerated;

Whereas the Member States have therefore not only controlled the marketing of plant protection products but have also introduced, for certain plant protection products, restrictions or prohibitions of use covering also their marketing;

Whereas these provisions differ in the various Member States and result in obstacles to trade which directly affect the establishment and functioning of the common market;

Whereas it is therefore desirable to eliminate these obstacles by aligning the relevant provisions laid down in the Member States by law, regulation or administrative provision;

Whereas it therefore seems justified, as a basic principle, to introduce prohibitions of the use of all plant protection products containing active substances which, even when properly used for the purpose intended, give rise or are likely to give rise to harmful effects on human or animal health or to unreasonable adverse effects on the environment;

Whereas for some of these plant protection products national derogations may, however, be permitted to a limited extent for those uses where, for ecological reasons, a particular need exists and where the risk is less than in the case of their other previously sanctioned uses;

Whereas even these derogations should be phased out as soon as less hazardous treatments become available;

Whereas, on the other hand, it is necessary to grant Member States a limited right to suspend temporarily, on their own authority, prohibitions of use in the event of an unforeseeable danger threatening plant production which cannot be contained by other means;

Whereas the Directive excludes plant protection products intended for research and analytical purposes;

Whereas, moreover, it is not appropriate to apply Community provisions to plant protection products intended for export to third countries, since in general these countries have their own regulations;

Whereas the implementation of this Directive and the adaptation of its Annex to the development of technical and scientific knowledge necessitates a close cooperation between the Commission and Member States; whereas the procedure — for the present, limited in time — of the Standing Committee on Plant Health and involvement of the Scientific Committee for Pesticides offers a suitable basis for this,


Article 1

This Directive concerns prohibition of the placing on the market and use of plant protection products containing certain active substances.

Article 2

For the purposes of this Directive the following definitions shall apply:

1.  Plant protection products

Active substances and preparations containing one or more active substances intended:

1.1. to destroy organisms harmful to plants or plant products or to protect them from such organisms, in so far as such substances or preparations are not defined in the following provisions;

1.2. to influence the life processes of plants, other than as a nutrient;

1.3. to preserve plant products, in so far as such substances or products are not subject to special Council or Commission provisions on preservatives;

1.4. to destroy undesired plants; or

1.5. to destroy parts of plants or to prevent undesired growth of plants.

2.  Substances

Chemical elements and their compounds, as they occur naturally or by manufacture.

3.  Preparations

Mixtures or solutions composed of two or more substances, or of micro-organisms or viruses used as plant protection products.

4.  Active substances

Substances, micro-organisms and viruses, having general or specific action:

4.1. against harmful organisms; or

4.2. on plants, parts of plants or plant products.

5.  Plants

Live plants and live parts of plants, including fresh fruit and seed.

6.  Plant products

Products, in the unprocessed state or having undergone only simple preparation such as milling, drying or pressing, derived from plants, but excluding plants themselves as defined in point 5.

7.  Harmful organisms

Pests of plants or of plant products, which belong to the animal or plant kingdoms, or which are viruses, mycoplasmas or other pathogens.

8.  Animals

Animals belonging to species normally nourished and kept or consumed by man.

9.  Placing on the market

Any transfer of possession, whether in return for payment or free of charge.

10.  Environment

The relationship of human beings with water, air, land and all biological forms.

Article 3

Member States shall ensure that plant protection products containing one or more of the active substances listed in the Annex may be neither placed on the market nor used.

The first paragraph shall not apply to plant protection products which contain negligible impurities because of the nature of their manufacturing process, provided that they have no harmful effects on human beings, animals or the environment.

Article 4

1.  By way of derogation from Article 3, Member States shall be temporarily authorized to permit the placing on the market or the use within their territory of plant protection products containing certain of the active substances listed in the first column of the Annex in the cases set out in the second column.

2.  Member States shall inform the other Member States and the Commission of any cases in which paragraph 1 is applied and, if the Commission so requests, shall provide it with details of the extent to which each such active substance is used.

Article 5

The Directive shall not apply to plant protection products intended for:

(a) purposes of research or analysis; or

(b) export to third countries.

Article 6

1.  After consultation by the Commission of the Scientific Committee on Pesticides set up under Decision 78/436/EEC ( 4 ) the following shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 8:

(a) any amendments necessary within groups A (mercury compounds) and B (persistent organochlorine compounds) of the substances in column 1 of the Annex;

(b) any amendments necessary to column 2 of the Annex. If a derogation is to be cancelled, prior consultation of the Scientific Committee shall not be necessary, provided that all Member States have informed the Commission that they do not intend or no longer intend to avail themselves of that derogation. This information may be supplied to the Standing Committee on Plant Health set up under Decision 76/894/EEC ( 5 ).

▼M4 —————


3.  Any amendments to the Annex which are not provided for in paragraph 1 shall be adopted by the Council acting on a proposal from the Commission.

4.  The Commission shall examine at least every two years whether and to what extent the second column of the Annex should be amended.

5.  All amendments to the Annex shall be made by reason of the development of scientific and technical knowledge.

6.  An active substance shall be included in the Annex if, even when properly applied for the purpose intended, its use gives rise or is likely to give rise to:

(a) harmful effects on human or animal health;

(b) unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.

Article 7

1.  If it appears necessary, because of an unforeseeable danger threatening plant production which cannot be contained by other means, to use in a Member State a plant protection product containing one or more of the active substances listed in the Annex, the Member State in question may permit the placing on the market and the use of such product for a maximum period of 120 days. It shall immediately inform the other Member States and the Commission of its action.

2.  It shall be established without delay in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 8 whether and, if so, under what conditions the action taken by the Member State pursuant to paragraph 1 may be continued or repeated.


Article 8

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health set up by Article 58 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 ( 6 ).

2.  Where reference is made to this Article, Articles 5 and 7 of Decision 1999/468/EC ( 7 ) shall apply.

The period laid down in Article 5(6) of Decision 1999/468/EC shall be set at three months.

3.  The committee shall adopt its rules of procedure.


Article 9

The Member States shall, not later than 1 January 1981, bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive. They shall immediately inform the Commission thereof.

Article 10

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.


Names of active substances or groups of active substances referred to in Article 3

Cases in which placing on the market or use are permitted in accordance with Article 4

A.  Mercury compounds

1.  Mercuric oxide

►M11  As a paint to treat Nectria galligena (canker) on pomaceous fruit trees after harvesting and until budding ◄

2.  Mercurous chloride (calomel)

►M11   ◄ ►M2   ◄

3.  Other inorganic mercury compounds


4.  Alkyl mercury compounds

►M9   Treatment of sugar beet seed  ◄

5.  Alkoxyalkyl and aryl mercury compounds

►M1   ◄ ►M2   ◄ ►M2   ◄ ►M11   ◄

B.  Persistent organo-chlorine compounds

►M13   ►C1   ◄  ◄

►M9   ◄

►M13   ►C1   ◄  ◄


►M13   ►C1   ◄  ◄


►M13   ►C1   ◄  ◄

►M1   ◄


►M1   ◄

►M13   ►C1   ◄  ◄

►M9   ◄


►M13   ►C1   ◄  ◄


►M13   ►C1   ◄  ◄

►M1  Treatment at their preparation stage of beet seed against Atomaria linearis, Agriotes spec., Myriapoda and Collembola ◄

►M13   ►C1   ◄  ◄



9.  Camphechlor



C.  Other compounds

1.  Ethylene oxide

 ◄ ►M6  

2.  Nitrofen

3.  1,2-Dibromoethane

4.  1,2-Dichloroethane

 ◄ ►M10  

5.  Dinoseb, its acetate and salts

6.  Binapacryl

7.  Captafol

8.  Dicofol containing less than 78 % of p.p.1-dicofol or more than 1 g/kg DDT and DDT related compounds


(a)  Maleic hydrazide and its salts, other than its choline, potassium and sodium salts;

(b)  Choline, potassium and sodium salts of maleic hydrazide containing more than 1 mg/kg of free hydrazine expressed on the basis of the acid equivalent

10.  Quintozene containing more than 1 g/kg of HCB or more than 10 g/kg pentachlorobenzene


(a)  pathogen reduction of the following dried vegetables, intended for incorporation in food preparations which do not undergo full cooking treatment prior to consumption

— asparagus

— onions

— leeks

— mushrooms

(b)  pathogen reduction of dried herbs and spices (1)

(c)  pathogen reduction of dried herbs intended exclusively for marketing without further processing as medicinal products

(d)  pathogen reduction of cocoa powder and cake

(e)  fumigation of tobacco leaf

►M8  Derogations (a), (d), and (e) shall expire on 31 December 1989 at the latest and derogations (b) and (c) on 31 December 1990 at the latest. ◄

(1)   Plants and plant products rich in essential oils and aromatic principles mainly used as condiments because of their characteristic taste

( 1 ) OJ No C 200, 26. 8. 1976, p. 10.

( 2 ) OJ No C 30, 7. 2. 1977, p. 38.

( 3 ) OJ No C 114, 11. 5. 1977, p. 16.

( 4 ) OJ No L 124, 12. 5. 1978, p. 16.

( 5 ) OJ No L 340, 9. 12. 1976, p. 25.

( 6 ) OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.

( 7 ) OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23.