The European Commission launched a free, Web-based database on March 16 that includes all active pesticide substances approved in the European Union. The database is intended to promote transparency and provide up-to-date information on EU pesticide legislation. It contains the results of the just-completed review of pesticides that were on the market before 1993, when the current safety assessment process was put in place. Substances must now be evaluated for potential risks to human health and the environment, including nontarget organisms such as birds and bees. Only 250 of about 1,000 active substances introduced before 1993 passed the current safety assessment and are still on the market. Most substances (67%) failed the assessment because proper records were not submitted, were incomplete, or were withdrawn by industry. About 70 substances were removed from the market because they were not shown to be safe for human health and the environment. "Today represents a milestone in our effort to ensure improved protection of human health and the environment," EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said in a statement. The database is available at ec.europa.eu/sanco_pesticides/public/index.cfm.