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Current Project

Chemistry and the Environment Division (VI)


Number: 2004-011-1-600

Title: Development of simplified methods and tools for ecological risk assessment of pesticides

Task Group
Ronald Parker

Elizabeth Carazo, Jan B.H.J. Linders, Ken Racke, Keiji Tanaka, and Don Wauchope

1. To develop simplified methods and supporting tools that can be used by developing country governments to perform ecological risk assessments of pesticides.
2. To make these methods and tools easily available to those desiring to use them for pesticide evaluation.

All countries use pesticides for protection of agricultural crops and for safeguarding public health. Pesticides, however, may have unintended adverse impacts on non-target organisms and any such potential impacts should be assessed before these chemicals are approved by governments for use. Many countries have developed methods for pesticide ecological risk assessment, but the complexity of the techniques and the overall amount of work required to use them has reached a level beyond the capacity of the majority of governments. As a result, only about 25 of the world's more than 180 countries routinely perform pesticide risk assessments in terms of the accepted procedure of comparing measured toxicity concentrations to estimated exposure concentrations. Countries besides these few would also benefit greatly from having the capacity to quickly perform a scientifically valid pesticide ecological risk assessment prior to approving use.

The project will develop pesticide ecological assessment methods and tools based on simplifying some of the methods and tools that have been established in other countries, establishing developing country scenarios for simulation models or employing the simplifying assumptions of relative (comparative) risk assessment.

These techniques will be made available to those who may need to use them through IUPAC and/or other organizations that have common interests. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the US EPA Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) are also interested in contributing resources toward these goals. IUPAC is an ideal participant in this kind of project because of its long history of working with international pesticide issues.

A paper was presented at the November 2003 IUPAC conference in Seoul, Korea that outlined the methodology of simplified, relative (comparative) risk assessment to be included in the risk assessment / risk management training module.

A draft version of the risk assessment / risk management training module was placed on IAEA/FAO INFOCRIS training website.

Tier I USEPA/OPP screening exposure assessment models were modified for use in the module.

A progress report on development of the relative risk methodology and the risk assessment / risk management training module was presented at the January 2005 IUPAC conference in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Training of government scientist and regulators from six Latin American countries in pesticide exposure/risk assessment methods and modelling was carried out during an IAEA/FAO workshop in Papagayo, Costa Rica also in January 2005.

Several planning and evaluation meetings for the simplified risk assessment project were held in Awaji, Japan in conjunction with the IUPAC international pesticide conference in Kobe, Japan in August 2006. Project workgroup members also discussed the possibility of replacing the relative risk methodology with a more complex and sophisticated methodology made possible by the availability of new modelling tools. The relative assessment method was originally chosen because of the advantages it offers in simplifying the exposure assessment through eliminating the necessity of developing appropriately vulnerable national exposure estimate scenarios for each crop in every county. The later option (developing national and/or regional PRZM cropping scenarios for EXPRESS) is now a realistic option.

Training of government scientists and regulators from 12 Asian countries in pesticide exposure/risk methods was carried out during an IAEA/FAO workshop in Daejon, South Korea in August 2006.

Training of government scientist and regulators from four Latin American countries in pesticide exposure/risk methods and modelling was carried out during an IAEA/FAO workshop in San Jose, Costa Rica also in January 2007.

Initial contacts with potential members of a workgroup to develop a methodology for developing cropping scenarios for an EXPRESS-type.


Last Update: 16 July 2007

<project announcement published in Chem. Int. Sep-Oct 2004 >

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