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Pesticides in Air, Water and Soil: 13th International Fresenius AGRO-Conference

The legal framework, measurement methods and risk assessment engaged experts from all over Europe, the United States and Australia.

Dortmund, Mainz, 27.07.2011

The use of pesticides in agriculture is widely spread, the impact on the environment as well as on the life conditions of animals and humans often uncertain. On the 13th International AGRO-Conference by Akademie Fresenius from 27th to 28th June 2011 in Mainz (near Frankfurt, Germany) professionals discussed current developments and practical experience.

Jeremy Dyson (Syngenta) distinguished the difference between generalized risk assessment and practical risk management in the field. Dyson explained that runoff and its impacts are now better understood, so there is a lot that can be done to manage runoff and its impacts better. On the other hand, Chris Lythgo from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) explained the issue of missing data which can complicate the assessment by the authorities. Among other things Lythgo named the inadequate identification of substances and the impact of there being limited information on individual substance elements, such as degradation rate sorption as having been assessment problems. In this context, Mark Egsmose (EFSA) declared that the guidance documents published by EFSA are in need of constant revision to make sure they cover all current and relevant scientific findings. Egsmose pointed out that there are several revisions and new guidances to come: As an example, a revision of the topics aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicology is planned for the time period 2012-2014. A new guidance document concerning the emission from protected cropping will be published in spring 2012.

National concepts on their way

With their Directive on Sustainable Use the European European Parliament and Council puts all their hopes for the future of pesticides on prevention. Wolfgang Reinert (European Commission) made clear that the directive focuses on the minimization of health and environment risks. For this purpose it would be important to exchange information between all countries and to integrate all concerned parties into the guidance. The strategy envisions also the formulation of national action plans that shall be notified to the European Commission until end of November 2012. Some conference speakers argued for the consideration of national specifics, too: According to Mats Allmyr, Swedish Chemicals Agency (KEMI), the consideration makes an accurate image of the dominant hydrogeological and climate conditions possible and helps therewith with the development of individual scenarios. Measures could be graded by means of actual demands, Allmys pointed out. Michael Stemmer, Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), underlined the importance of specific statements and scenarios. A national version of the GeoPearl-modell to measure leach effects on Austrian soil would have indicated that standard scenarios for Northern Europe could not be carried over to Austria in full extent. Hermann Wilhelmy (TSGE Germany) noted critically that a too country specific approach could be obstructive and would just accumulate complexity on the topic.

Pesticides in the atmosphere – a long-term risk

The identification of persistent and potential toxic substances in the environment causing long-term risks was presented by Jan Hassink (BASF Germany). Carole Bedos, French National Institute for Agronomical Research (INRA) suggested that the volatilization of pesticides would be a major problem for the atmosphere as well as atmospheric dispersion and dry deposition on non target ecosystems. Operational tools have been developed as, for example, a multicriteria method to construct a list of pesticides that need to be monitored in the atmosphere. Sabine Beulke from the British Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) directed the auditorium’s attention to the fact that the potential for emissions of pest, issues from protected crops to air, ground water and surface water is not specifically addressed by the current risk assessment methodology. Modelling results showed that the emissions can be smaller or larger than for crops grown in the open field.

In addition, Volker Laabs (BASF Germany) pointed out that it would be important to denote proceedings in water protection in terms of practical implementation (e.g. constructions before water edges).
A water protection concept for agriculture should ideally pursue an all-encompassing approach which includes all potential problem substances (e.g. synthetic fertilizer, agricultural pesticides, slurry) as well as additional protective goods (e.g. biodiversity, ecosystem continuity, climate protection), Laabs explained.

The complete Fresenius conference documentation including scripts from all the presentations can be purchased at the Akademie Fresenius for 295,00 € (plus VAT) or here.

Further Akademie Fresenius Conferences:

11th Fresenius ECOTOX-Conference
(30th November to 1st December 2011 in Mainz near Frankfurt/Germany):

Professionals will discuss current developments and practical experience on aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicology and risk assessment. More information about the conference here.

Contact details:

Die Akademie Fresenius GmbH
Monika Stratmann

Alter Hellweg 46
44379 Dortmund

Phone  +49 231 75896-50
Fax  +49 231 75896-53

Titel Agro

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