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REACH Specific Environmental Release Categories for Plant Protection Product Applications


Christopher Dobe,*† Sébastien Bonifay,‡ Joachim D Krass,§ Claire McMillan,|| Adrian Terry,|| and Matthias Wormuth†

†Syngenta Crop Protection AG, Basel, Switzerland
‡Corteva Agriscience, Production Agriscience Belgium BVBA, Brussels, Belgium §BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany
||Cambridge Environmental Assessments, Cambridge, United Kingdom

The European Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation requires that quantitative environmental risk assessment is carried out for hazardous substances used as coformulants in plant protection products (PPPs), if registered above 10t/y. The European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) has developed generic exposure scenarios and specific environmental release categories (SpERCs) to support these risk assessments. The SpERCs offer refinements to the default release factors defined in environmental release categories (ERCs) and are intended to be used with nested multimedia mass balance models as part of the assessment of regional predicted environmental con- centrations. Based on the application method of PPPs, 2 scenarios were defined for which SpERCs were developed: 1) spraying of PPPs and 2) direct application of granular products or treated seeds to soil. The SpERC for spray applications includes release factors to air and soil that depend on the vapor pressure of the coformulant. Calculations are presented to support the subSpERCs describing the transition from nonvolatile to volatile behavior. The most recent version of the spray application SpERC defines a release factor for surface water and more conservative release factors to soil compared with previous versions. Use of the ECPA SpERCs allows the coformulant emissions from PPPs to be fully accounted for in the regional‐scale environmental risk assessment for a given substance, along with all other sources of emissions. Qualitative and quantitative justification for the ECPA‐derived SpERCs is presented and serves as the background documentation to the online European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) SpERC factsheets. The approach developed here whereby regional‐scale SpERCs are used in combination with a customized local‐scale exposure model is potentially applicable for other sectors that are required to conduct exposure assessments outside the scope of the standard environmental REACH models. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2020;16:472–480. © 2020 Syngenta Crop Protection AG. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC)