EU opens comments for pesticide risk assessment
According to a release by the EFSA yesterday, the guidance sets to establish for the first time "a harmonized methodology" for farm operators, agricultural workers and anyone else who comes into contact with pesticides.
The authority is targeting four key groups: farming professionals who carry out activities linked to the use of pesticides like mixing and loading pesticides into machinery or cleaning and operating such equipment; farm workers who handle crops treated with the chemicals; people living or working close to areas where pesticides are used and are therefore exposed over a long-term period; and bystanders who may occasionally come into contact with pesticides.
"The guidance will help risk assessors and industry applicants calculate the risk to those who are exposed to pesticides through their field of work or physical proximity (where they live or attend school) to areas such as fields or greenhouses where these chemicals are used," the EFSA said.
"The guidance evaluates non-dietary exposure to pesticides by inhalation and absorption through the skin."
The EFSA has also developed a risk-assessment calculator based on pesticide name, formulation type and method of application.
"EFSA has developed an easy-to-use calculator that draws on available data to help risk assessors and applicants carry out exposure assessments," the release said.
"It also compares the estimated exposure assessments to previously set guidance levels for acceptable exposure to the pesticide."
Interested parties are encouraged to offer feedback through the online public consultation ending on May 20, 2014. Comments made during this time could be incorporated into the EFSA final guidance document. Comments can only be made via the EFSA’s online portal found here.
"The draft guidance builds on EFSA’s previous work to evaluate pesticide exposure for operators, workers, residents and bystanders. Importantly, this document addresses issues raised by European Commission and Member States following publication of the original scientific opinion in 2010," the release said.