Environmental Fate and Behaviour
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'Understanding the interacting processes that control the environmental dynamics of pesticides is essential in order to maximise their effectiveness while minimising the risk of environmental contamination.'
Proceedings of the British Crop Protection Council, 2001
Environmental fate and behaviour of pesticides can be thought of simplistically as the effect that the environment has on the pesticide, and where the pesticide and its breakdown products go in the environment after application.
Three key elements to assessing the potential environmental contamination from the pesticide are:
- Assess the routes and rates and dissipation of an active substance (a.s.) and its metabolites
- Assess the mobility/transport of the a.s. and metabolites in the environment
- Determine the likelihood and levels of exposure in the various environmental compartments from the proposed use(s)
For authorisation of plant protection products within the European Regulatory system, the data requirements were first defined in Commission Directive 95/36/EC of 14 July 1995 amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC (see under M6 for specific fate and behaviour requirements). Plant protection products are regulated in the EU by Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, which repealed and replaced Council Directive 91/414/EEC on 14 June 2011.
Environmental fate and behaviour data requirements under Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 are as follows:
- Active substance data requirements are presented in Regulation (EC) No 283/2013 with data requirements as well as test methods and guidance documents.
- Product data requirements are presented in Regulation (EC) No 284/2013 with data requirements as well as test methods and guidance documents.
The information presented on this website, in conjunction with the information on other sites, is intended to assist applicants with applications for authorisation of Plant Protection Products in the UK with reference to the EU framework in the field of environmental exposure. The information relates primarily to agricultural, horticultural and home garden pesticides (also known as plant protection products). Applicants are advised to contact the HSE's Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) for guidance to address fields of use or applications not covered by the available guidance or risk assessments at community level. Non-agricultural (public hygiene) pesticides and biocides are also the responsibility of CRD. However, information about these products is held on the biocides website.
Applicants are advised to consider ALL the available guidance when preparing submissions, but applicants are invited to contact CRD if they have questions which cannot be answered by the available guidance. HSE's Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) contact details are found here.
The output from the fate and behaviour assessment is used to inform risk assessments performed by other specialist evaluators (for example ecotoxicology and consumer exposure). These outputs are typically Predicted Environmental Concentrations (PEC's) in soil, surface water (water and sediment), groundwater and air.
A number of environmental exposure modelling tools and guidance documents for use in the EU have been produced by the FOCUS initiative, (FOrum for the Co-ordination of Pesticide Fate Models and their USe) whose goal has been to develop standardised worst-case scenarios, relevant to EU agriculture, for use with computer modelling, to provide exposure estimates in various environmental compartments.
The UK approach has evolved following much UK Research & Development Research and Development in this area.
Further information to guide applicants in providing suitable exposure calculations for Plant Protection Products in the range of Environmental compartments considered may be found by following the links below. A link is also provided to a range of Excel models to assist in PEC calculations.
List of all Fate and Behaviour guidance pages
- Additional information
- Risk Envelope Suitability
- Summary of New Guidance
- Aged Sorption Guidance
- Surface Water and Sediment
- Active substance PECsw calculations (for UK specific authorisation requests)
- UK surface water exposure from spray drift
- PECsw / sed via drainflow - UK first tier
- Webfram: higher tier refinement of drainflow exposure
- Higher tier drainflow from MACRO
- Active substance and metabolite PECsw calculations (for EU and Zonal specific authorisation requests)
- Combined Risk Assessments
- Environmental Fate Models
- Environmental Fate Research Reports
- Environmental Fate - Don't forget!