Analysis of the case studies

To fully understand the complexities and the controversies around the application of the precautionary principle, the RECIPES project conducted nine case studies. The aim was to understand and explain the potential differences in the application depending on the topic and the context. A comparison across the different cases indicates that the application of the precautionary principle had positive effects on innovation and contributed to more responsible pathways.

Taking stock of the precautionary principle since 2000

The precautionary principle is supposed to enable decision-makers to adopt precautionary measures even if scientific uncertainties about environmental and health risks remain. However, opinions about the precautionary principle are divided. To some, it is unscientific and an obstacle to progress. To others, it is a necessary tool to protect human health and the environment.

Case Study 4: Neonicotinoid insecticides

In Europe, hundreds of different pesticides are allowed in farming to control fungi (fungicides), weeds (herbicides) and plague insects (insecticides) that may harm the crop. Among them are Neonicotinoid insecticides (in short: neonics) that, due to the risk they pose for the environment and pollinating insects in particular, are regulated through the precautionary principle.