Intro to the issue
Before any technology, any solution such as pesticides, biopesticides or genetically modified plants are available on the market they need to undergo strict evaluation by authorities to ensure that they have no unacceptable effects on the environment.
What we do in agriculture has a measurable impact on the organisms in the growing areas and the surrounding ecosystems. That is one of the reasons we’re working to find ways to minimize and even reverse agriculture’s impact. We need to remember that productive agriculture needs a healthy environment and rich biodiversity depends on good agricultural management practices.
Why this is a priority for us?
Each company has its own unique research strategy to find potentially suitable, safe new products.
The risk assessment of active substances evaluates whether, when used correctly, these substances are likely to have any direct or indirect harmful effects on human or animal health – for example, through drinking water, food or feed – or on groundwater quality. In addition, the environmental risk assessment aims to evaluate the potential impact on non-target organisms. The risk assessment of GM plants thoroughly evaluates potential risks of GM cultivation or imports to human health and the environment.
What are we doing about it
Apart of respective companies research and proactive contributions, ECPA is conducting specific projects aiming at providing high quality data to inform risk assessment updates.
For example, a series of open points were listed by EFSA regarding the pollinator risk assessment. ECPA coordinated the collation of existing datasets and produced dedicated analysis, like on possible exposure routes for pollinators (guttation, flowering weeds, succeeding crops) or sensitivity of bumble bees compared to honey bees.
Similarly, in the area of prediction of environmental concentrations in water. Industry is supporting the developments and updates of the necessary IT tools by conducting extensive testing of new beta versions and feeding back bugs to authorities.
As from 2021, the content of technical dossiers for pesticides, biopesticide and genetically modified organisms will be made publicly available at the beginning of the evaluation process. This will gradually give access to the general public, but more importantly to the scientific and regulatory communities, to a vast amount of safety related data. We believe such transparency will benefit the evaluation process and enhance the risk assessment approaches.