Fact Sheet: Misleading marketing of pesticides

This fact sheet explains the most important points about misleading marketing of pesticides in the Ministry of Environment's Statutory Order on pesticides. Please note that only the regulations in the Statutory Order apply, this fact sheet is merely a guide.

What is the scope of the regulations?

The regulations cover marketing of pesticides. Marketing is to be interpreted broadly and includes product name, labelling, packaging and advertising.

There are two types of pesticide: Plant protection products and biocides. Plant protection products include herbicides (weed killers) and products to combat pests that attack plants or plant products. Biocides include wood preservatives, rat poisons, algicides and mosquito repellents, etc.

What is the purpose of the regulations?

The regulations are designed to protect consumers against marketing that might mislead them into believing that a product is harmless when in fact it can pose a risk to health or the environment. Pesticides are dangerous to the organisms they are meant to combat – we cannot exclude the risk that they are also dangerous to humans and the environment.

What do the regulations say?

Pesticides cannot be marketed in such a way that the consumer is misled as to their use and dangers. This includes the following:

  • It is not permitted to use words, descriptions or product names that may give the consumer the impression that the product does not pose any risk to people or the environment. This covers words such as "harmless", "non-toxic", "not injurious to health", "low-risk biocidal product", "not subject to mandatory labelling", "tested for ..." (e.g. allergies), "approved", "environment", "organic", "eco" and "natural".
  • Except for the word "biocide", it is only permitted to use the word "bio" when the pesticide is based on micro-organisms.
  • It is not permitted to advertise that a pesticide contains or acts as a fertiliser.
  • It is mandatory to state danger class and active ingredients when advertising a dangerous pesticide.
  • In advertisements for biocidal products, the following sentences must be included: "Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use."

Who is responsible?

The person responsible for marketing the product is also responsible for complying with the regulations, be it the manufacturer, importer, wholesaler or retailer.

The Danish EPA Chemical Inspection Service supervises the implementation of the regulations and is authorised to issue injunctions and bans. If the regulations are violated, this may lead to a fine or up to two years’ imprisonment.

Where can I obtain more information?

Fact Sheet No. 11 includes more information about pesticide labelling and packaging.

Fact Sheet No. 28 includes information about approval of plant protection products.

The titles of the Statutory Orders are:

" Miljø- og Energiministeriets bekendtgørelse nr. 313 af 5. maj 2000 om ændring af bekendtgørelse om bekæmpelsesmidler" (Statutory Order No. 313 of 5 May 2000 amending the Statutory Order on Pesticides). Section 29 concerns marketing. This statutory order amends the following statutory order:

Statutory Order from the Ministry of Environment and Energy No. 241 of 27 April 1998 on Pesticides.

The Statutory Orders are also available in Danish on the Internet address: www.retsinfo.dk , at the library or you can order them at a bookshop in Denmark.