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anses

French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Neonicotinoids: ANSES publishes its second progress report on the alternatives and the conclusions of its expert appraisal work on the impact of these active substances on human health

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News of 05/03/2018

Under the Act "for the restoration of biodiversity, nature and landscapes", ANSES undertook work to assess chemical and non-chemical alternatives to the use of plant protection preparations containing neonicotinoids, for which the final report will be published in the second quarter of 2018. In the second progress report published today, alternatives for uses on grapevines, industrial and fodder beets, straw cereals, maize and lettuce were identified, and risk indicators applied to them. This information will be incorporated in a final report that will cover all the plant protection uses of neonicotinoids, as well as an update of the alternatives identified for each use. Concerning the impact of neonicotinoids on human health, the expert appraisal carried out at the request of the Ministers of Health and the Environment revealed no harmful effects, for uses complying with the conditions of use laid down in the marketing authorisations. However, with regard to thiacloprid, given the hazard characteristics of this substance and the significant increase in its use, the Agency recommends minimising its uses.

In its Article 125, the Act of 8 August 2016 "for the restoration of biodiversity, nature and landscapes" provides for a ban on the use of plant protection products containing active substances in the class of neonicotinoids as well as seeds treated with these products, with effect from 1 September 2018. The Act also stipulates that waivers may be granted until 1 July 2020 on the basis of a comparison prepared by ANSES of the benefits and risks associated with the uses of these products, and of those of substitute products or alternative methods.

In this context, ANSES received a formal request from the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct an assessment weighing up the risks and benefits of plant protection preparations containing neonicotinoids, and a comparison with their chemical and non-chemical alternatives. The Ministries in charge of health, the environment and biodiversity also asked ANSES to conduct an in-depth expert appraisal of the human health effects of all the neonicotinoid substances authorised at national level, irrespective of their uses: for plant protection, biocides or as veterinary medicinal products.

Impact of neonicotinoids on human health: no harmful effects on human health, subject to compliance with the conditions of use laid down in the marketing authorisations, but particular vigilance needed regarding thiacloprid

To carry out its work, ANSES reviewed all the available data on the hazards to human health presented by the six active substances in the class of neonicotinoids authorised under the regulations relating to plant protection products and/or biocides and/or veterinary medicinal products (acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam and dinotefuran). This work revealed no harmful effects on human health, subject to compliance with the conditions of use laid down in the marketing authorisations. The Agency therefore reiterates the importance of complying with the conditions of use laid down in the products' marketing authorisations, to prevent potential impacts on human health.

However, with regard to the active substance thiacloprid, and given its hazard characteristics, the significant increase in its use noted during the period 2010-2015, and uncertainties related to cumulative exposure with other plant protection products or biocides with similar hazard characteristics, ANSES recommends minimising the uses of products containing this substance with effect from 2018.


Assessment of alternatives: development of an innovative method for comparing the substances with regard to each type of risk

The Act "for the restoration of biodiversity, nature and landscapes" provides for a ban on the use of plant protection products or seeds treated with one or more active substances in the class of neonicotinoids, with effect from 1 September 2018. However, waivers may be granted until 1 July 2020 by a joint decree of the Ministers of Agriculture, the Environment and Health, on the basis of a review prepared by ANSES that compares the benefits and risks associated with the uses of the plant protection products containing active substances in the class of neonicotinoids authorised in France, with those associated with the uses of the substitute products or alternative methods available.

To answer this question, the Agency developed a methodology for identifying and rating alternatives to uses of neonicotinoids, which it published in its first report in March 2017. The analysis grid adopted can be used to consistently and systematically compare the alternative control methods (chemical and non-chemical), for each of the neonicotinoid uses, on the basis of four criteria: the effectiveness, operational capability, sustainability and practicality of each method considered.

In its second progress report published today, this methodology was applied to uses on grapevines, industrial and fodder beet, straw cereals, maize and lettuce. The information it contains will be incorporated in a final report that will cover all the plant protection uses of neonicotinoids, as well as an update of the alternatives identified that possess a marketing authorisation.

The approach adopted has made it possible to identify and assess control methods (chemical or agronomic) likely to offer an alternative to the use of neonicotinoids as of 2018. The analysis also presents risk indicators that make it possible to compare substances with regard to their risks to humans, the environment, organisms present in the soil, aquatic organisms, birds, mammals and pollinators.

It should be emphasised that with regard to pest control, no single method is sufficiently effective: a combination of methods should therefore be considered in the framework of an integrated control approach.
 

The final report on the assessment of chemical and non-chemical alternatives to the use of plant protection preparations containing neonicotinoids will be published in the second quarter of 2018. It will include an update of the chemical alternatives authorised, as well as the application of the comparison methodologies to all the authorised uses for products containing neonicotinoids.