As part of an industry led initiative, the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) aims to make Tier I bee risk assessment more effective. ECPA, in collaboration with ERM, have produced a regulatory report which aimed to check the relevance of the ‘weeds in the treated field’ exposure scenario.
The EFSA bee Guidance Document suggests that if <10% of the area of use contains attractive flowering weeds then the exposure route is not relevant. Overall, a comprehensive data set consisting of over 8,500 herbicide efficacy trials, conducted throughout Europe, and comprising 45,000 individual data recordings on eight arable crops and three permanent crop groups, from five leading agrochemical companies has been analysed in order to gain significant insight into the prevalence of flowering weeds within the crop area. The report, using this powerful data set demonstrates that the presence of attractive flowering weeds in arable fields is not a significant exposure route for bees, much lower than 10% therefore, in accordance with the EFSA bee Guidance Document, the ‘weeds in the treated field’ exposure scenario is not considered relevant for many typical arable crops.
For permanent crops, it is considered that further data from additional efficacy trials should be gathered and analysed before drawing any firm conclusions on the relevance of this exposure scenario.
The work has been presented by ECPA at the 14th International Symposium (ICPPR): Hazards of Pesticides to Bees 23 – 25 October 2019, Bern, Switzerland.
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