Pesticide exposure guidelines ‘outdated’

Guidelines for regulating public exposure to pesticides published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are welcome, but outdated, according to the British Crop Production Council.

The new guidelines are an indirect product of the Georgina Downs case which, despite being overturned in July this year, spurred the EU to recognise that pesticide exposure assessments for bystanders and residents should be standardised.

BCPC’s Colin Ruscoe said that the guidelines were consistent with EU policy for risk assessment and should not result in undue conservatism.

However, many of the values included in the proposal were based on old data and not relevant to current agricultural practices, he added. “It will be important to replace old results with new, more appropriate data, to prevent any anomalies from occuring.”

It was also important to compare the new guidlines to existing risk assessment models in counties such as the UK and Germany, he said. “Many EU approvals have already been granted based on data from current risk assessment models in these countries. What would happen if existing approvals failed under the new system?”

Following latest research, the UK Advisory Committee on Pesticides is reviewing the current assessments of the risk of pesticide exposure and will advise the Chemicals Regulation Directorate of any changes needed.