How to foster the use of pesticides with a lower environmental impact in support of the Green Deal ambitions


Abstract: Including more low-risk pesticides from biological origin as an alternative to chemical pesticides in agriculture, is considered as an important way forward to reach the Farm to Fork strategy target of 50 % decrease of the use of more hazardous pesticides by 2030. Lowrisk pesticides as defined by the current European Union (EU) plant protection Commission Regulation EC No 1107/2009 (PPP reg) comprise pesticides from a biological origin, but not all biological pesticides meet a low-risk profile. Although promising from the nature of these products and active ingredients, any (bio)pesticide needs to meet the criteria of the PPP reg, and to be granted a low-risk status they also need to meet the additional low-risk criteria defined by the PPP reg. Risk assessment procedures are designed for the regulation of synthetic products with an expected high risk, and consequently complexifies the approval of products with expected or known lower risk profiles. Important steps forward were reached in the past years, e.g., the acceptance of uniform principles and data requirements facilitating microbial pesticides approval as part of the PPP reg. However, for other low-risk pesticides from biological origin, specific requirements are lacking. Biopesticides are still only slowly obtaining approval, which hinders the replacement of more toxic chemicals, limiting the choices for farmers and encouraging derogations for toxic compounds. This paper summarizes the bottlenecks encountered when performing a risk assessment for authorization of biological pesticides and low-risk pesticides and lists recommendations on how to foster the use of pesticides with a lower environmental impact.

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