Impact of European legislation on marketed pesticides — A view from the standpoint of health impact assessment studies, Environment International, Vol. 35, pp. 1096–1107.
Year : 2009
Author : Karabelas A.J., Plakas K.V., Solomou E.S., Drossou V., Sarigiannis D.A.
The very significant impact of European legislation (Directive 91/414/EEC) on the authorization of plant protection products is reviewed herein, which has resulted in withdrawal of 704 active substances (AS) out of 889 assessed so far. The list of currently approved 276 AS includes 194 AS “existing” in the market before 1993 and 82 “new” AS introduced during the last 15 years. Results of toxicity characterization of the approved AS are also summarized, utilizing several well-known databases. Although significant data gaps exist for a rather large part of the approved AS, it is found that 84 AS are positive for at least one health effect (after chronic and/or acute exposure) including carcinogenicity, reproductive and neuro-developmental disorders, as well as endocrine disruption. The toxicity characterization results of this study are compared to those of recent assessments by other organizations (KemI, the Swedish Chemicals Agency, and the Pesticide Safety Directorate of the UK), where interpretation and use is made of AS “cut-off” criteria foreseen in new EU legislation. These studies report a comparatively smaller AS number with positive toxicity characterization. The possibility of some additional AS withdrawal in the near future, combined with the rather small rate of new AS introduction (approx. 5 per year) suggest that the list of approved AS over the next 10–15 years may not change very drastically. Consideration of the above trends is necessary and instructive in evaluating results of existing health impact assessment (HIA) studies, as well as in planning new ones. Due to the very drastic change in the number and type of marketed AS, that took place within the past 8–9 years, it is suggested that new HIA studies (based on epidemiological data after year 2000) should focus on a rather short time frame and, therefore, on appropriate cohort groups, e.g. young children. For the same reason, results of epidemiological studies of the past (involving banned AS) should be carefully interpreted and used with caution.